GINGERLY, s. A coin mentioned as passing in Arabian ports by Milburn (i. 87, 91). Its country and proper name are doubtful. [The following quotations show that Gingerlee or Gergelin was a name for part of the E. coast of India, and Mr. Whiteway (see GINGELI) conjectures that it was so called because the oil was produced there.] But this throws no light on the gold coin of Milburn.

1680-81.—“The form of the pass given to ships and vessels, and Register of Passes given (18 in all), bound to Jafnapatam, Manilla, Mocha, Gingerlee, Tenasserim, &c.”—Fort St. Geo. Cons. Notes and Exts., App. No. iii. p. 47.

1701.—The Carte Marine depuis Suratte jusqu’au Detroit de Malaca, par le R. Père P.P. Tachard, shows the coast tract between Vesegapatam and Iagrenate as Gergelin.

1753.—“Some authors give the Coast between the points of Devi and Gaudewari, the name of the Coast of Gergelin. The Portuguese give the name of Gergelim to the plant which the Indians call Ellu, from which they extract a kind of oil.”—D’Anville, 134.

[Mr. Pringle (Diary Fort St. Geo. 1st ser. iii. 170) identifies the Gingerly Factory with Vizagapatam. See also i. 109; ii. 99.]

GINGHAM, s. A kind of stuff, defined in the Draper’s Dictionary as made from cotton yarn dyed before being woven. The Indian ginghams were apparently sometimes of cotton mixt with some other material. The origin of this word is obscure, and has been the subject of many suggestions. Though it has long passed into the English language, it is on the whole most probable that, like chintz and calico, the term was one originating in the Indian trade.

We find it hardly possible to accept the derivation, given by Littré, from “Guingamp, ville de Bretagne, où il y a des fabriques de tissus.” This is also alleged, indeed, in the Encycl. Britannica, 8th ed., which states, under the name of Guingamp, that there are in that town manufactures of ginghams, to which the town gives its name. [So also in 9th ed.] We may observe that the productions of Guingamp, and of the Côtes-du-Nord generally, are of linen, a manufacture dating from the 15th century. If it could be shown that gingham was either originally applied to linen fabrics, or that the word occurs before the Indian trade began, we should be more willing to admit the French etymology as possible.

The Penny Cyclopaedia suggests a derivation from guingois, ‘awry.’ “The variegated, striped, and crossed patterns may have suggested the name.”

‘Civilis,’ a correspondent of Notes and Queries (5 ser. ii. 366, iii. 30) assigns the word to an Indian term, gingham, a stuff which he alleges to be in universal use by Hindu women, and a name which he constantly found, when in judicial employment in Upper India, to be used in inventories of stolen property and the like. He mentions also that in Sir G. Wilkinson’s Egypt, the word is assigned to an Egyptian origin. The alleged Hind. word is unknown to us and to the dictionaries; if used as ‘Civilis’ believes, it was almost certainly borrowed from the English term.

It is likely enough that the word came from the Archipelago. Jansz’s Javanese Dict. gives “ginggang, a sort of striped or chequered East Indian lijnwand,” the last word being applied to cotton as well as linen stuffs, equivalent to French toile. The verb ginggang in Javanese is given as meaning ‘to separate, to go away,’ but this seems to throw no light on the matter; nor can we connect the name with that of a place on the northern coast of Sumatra, a little E. of Acheen, which we have seen written Gingham (see Bennett’s Wanderings, ii. 5, 6; also Elmore, Directory to India and China Seas, 1802, pp. 63-64). This place appears prominently as Gingion in a chart by W. Herbert, 1752. Finally, Bluteau gives the following:—“Guingam. So in some parts of the kingdom (Portugal) they call the excrement of the Silkworm, Bombicis excrementum. Guingão. A certain stuff which is made in the territories of the Mogul. Beirames, guingoens, Canequis, &c. (Godinho, Viagam da India, 44).” Wilson gives kindan as the Tamil equivalent of gingham, and perhaps intends to suggest that it is the original of this word. The Tamil Dict. gives “kindan, a kind of coarse cotton cloth, striped or chequered.” [The Madras Gloss. gives Can. ginta, Tel. gintena, Tam. kindan, with the meaning of “double thread texture.” The N.E.D., following Scott, Malayan Words in English, 142 seq., accepts the Javanese derivation as given above: “Malay ginggang…a striped or checkered cotton fabric known to Europeans in the East as ‘gingham.’ As an adjective, the word means, both in Malay and Javanese, where it seems to be original, ‘striped.’ The full expression is kain ginggang, ‘striped cloth’ (Grashuis). The Tamil ‘kindan, a kind of coarse cotton cloth, striped or chequered’ (quoted in Yule), cannot be the source of the European forms, nor, I think, of the Malayan forms. It must be an independent word, or a perversion of the Malayan term.” On the other hand, Prof. Skeat rejects the Eastern derivation on the ground that “no one explains the spelling. The right explanation is simply that gingham is an old English spelling of Guingamp. See the

  By PanEris using Melati.

Previous chapter Back Home Email this Search Discuss Bookmark Next chapter/page
Copyright: All texts on Bibliomania are © Ltd, and may not be reproduced in any form without our written permission.
See our FAQ for more details.