EAGLE-WOOD, s. The name of an aromatic wood from Camboja and some other Indian regions, chiefly trans-gangetic. It is the “odorous wood” referred to by Camões in the quotation under CHAMPA. We have somewhere read an explanation of the name as applied to the substance in question, because this is flecked and mottled, and so supposed to resemble the plumage of an eagle! [Burton, Ar. Nights, iv. 395; Linschoten, Hak. Soc. i. 120, 150.] The word is in fact due to a corrupt form of the Skt. name of the wood, agaru, aguru. A form, probably, of this is [Greek Text] agil akil, which Gundert gives as the Malayal. word.1 From this the Portuguese must have taken their aguila, as we find it in Barbosa (below), or pao (wood) d’aguila, made into aquila, whence French bois d’aigle, and Eng. eagle-wood. The Malays call it Kayu (wood)-gahru, evidently the same word, though which way the etymology flowed it is difficult to say. [Mr. Skeat writes: “the question is a difficult one. Klinkert gives garu (garoe) and gaharu (gaharoe), whence the trade names ‘Garrow’ and ‘Garroo’; and the modern standard Malay certainly corresponds to Klinkert’s forms, though I think gaharu should rather be written gharu, i.e. with an aspirated g, which is the way the Malays pronounce it. On the other hand, it seems perfectly clear that there must have been an alternative modern form agaru, or perhaps even aguru, since otherwise such trade names as ‘ugger’ and (?) ‘tugger’ could not have arisen. They can scarcely have come from the Skt. In Ridley’s Plant List we have gaharu and gagaheu, which is the regular abbreviation of the reduplicated form gahru-gahru identified as Aquilaria Malaccensis, Lam.”] [See CAMBULAC.]

The best quality of this wood, once much valued in Europe as incense, is the result of disease in a tree of the N. O. Leguminosae, the Aloexylon agallochum, Loureiro, growing in Camboja and S. Cochin China, whilst an inferior kind, of like aromatic qualities, is produced by a tree of an entirely different order, Aquilaria agallocha, Roxb. (N. O. Aquilariaceae), which is found as far north as Silhet.2

Eagle-wood is another name for aloes-wood, or aloes (q.v.) as it is termed in the English Bible. [See Encycl. Bibl. i. 120 seq.] It is curious that Bluteau, in his great Portuguese Vocabulario, under Pao d’Aguila, jumbles up this aloes-wood with Socotrine Aloes. [Greek Text] Agallocon was known to the ancients, and is described by Dioscorides (c. A.D. 65). In Liddell and Scott the word is rendered “the bitter aloe”; which seems to involve the same confusion as that made by Bluteau.

Other trade-names of the article given by Forbes Watson are Garrow- and Garroo-wood, agla-wood, ugger-, and tugger- (?) wood.


Das Dragoarias, e preços que ellas valem em CalicutAguila, cada Farazola (see FRAZALA) de 300 a 400 (fanams)

Lenho aloes verdadeiro, negro, pesado, e muito fino val 1000 (fanams).”3Barbosa (Lisbon), 393.

1563.—“R. And from those parts of which you speak, comes the true lign-aloes? Is it produced there?

O. Not the genuine thing. It is indeed true that in the parts about C. Comorin and in Ceylon there is a wood with a scent (which we call aguila brava), as we have many another wood with a scent. And at one time that wood used to be exported to Bengala under the name of aguila brava; but since then the Bengalas have got more knowing, and buy it no longer….”—Garcia, f. 119v.–120.

1613.—“…A aguila, arvore alta e grossa, de folhas como a Olyveira.”—Godinho de Eredia, f. 15v.

1774.—“Kinnâmon…Oud el bochor, et Agadj oudi, est le nom hébreu, arabe, et turc d’un bois nommé par les Anglois Agalwood, et par les Indiens de Bombay Agar, dont on a deux diverses sortes, savoir: Oud mawárdi, c’est la meilleure. Oud Kakulli, est la moindre sorte.”—Niebuhr, Des. de l’Arabie, xxxiv.

1854.—(In Cachar) “the eagle- wood, a tree yielding uggur oil, is also much sought for its fragrant wood, which is carried to Silhet, where it is broken up and distilled.”—Hooker, Himalayan Journals, ed. 1855, ii. 318.

The existence of the aguila tree (darakhti-’ud) in the Silhet hills is mentioned by Abu’l Fazl (Gladwin’s Ayeen, ii. 10; [ed. Jarrett, ii. 125]; orig. i. 391).

EARTH-OIL, s. Petroleum, such as that exported from Burma…The term is a literal translation of that used in nearly all the Indian vernaculars. The chief sources are at Ye-nan-gyoung on the Irawadi, lat. c. 20° 22’.

1755.—“Raynan-Goung…at this Place there are about 200 Families, who are chiefly employed in getting Earth-oil out of Pitts, some five miles in the Country.”—Baker, in Dalrymple’s Or. Rep. i. 172.

1810.—“Petroleum, called by the natives earth-oil…which is imported from Pegu, Ava, and the Arvean (read Aracan) Coast.”—Williamson, V. M. ii. 21–23.

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