JAPAN to JARGON
JAPAN, n.p. Mr. Giles says: Our word is from Jeh-pun, the Dutch orthography of the Japanese Ni- pon. What the Dutch have to do with the matter is hard to see. [Our word Japan and the Japanese Nihon or Nippon, are alike corruptions of Jihpen, the Chinese pronunciation of the characters (meaning) literally sun-origin. (Chamberlain, Things Japanese, 3rd ed. 221).] A form closely resembling Japán, as we pronounce it, must have prevailed, among foreigners at least, in China as early as the 13th century; for Marco Polo calls it Chipan-gu or Jipan-ku, a name representing the Chinese Zhi-pan-Kwe (Sun-origin-Kingdom), the Kingdom of the Sunrise or Extreme Orient, of which the word Nipon or Niphon, used in Japan, is said to be a dialectic variation. But as there was a distinct gap in Western tradition between the 14th century and the 16th, no doubt we, or rather the Portuguese, acquired the name from the traders at Malacca, in the Malay forms, which Crawfurd gives as Japung and Japang.
1298.Chipangu is an Island towards the east in the high seas, 1,500 miles distant from the Continent; and a very great Island it is. The people are white, civilized, and well-favoured. They are Idolaters, and dependent on nobody. Marco Polo, bk. iii. ch. 2.
Esta meia escondida, que responde
Camões, x. 131.
This Realm, half-shadowed, Chinas empery
1727.Japon, with the neighbouring Islands under its Dominions, is about the magnitude of Great Britain.A. Hamilton, ii. 306; [ed. 1744, ii. 305].
JARGON, JARCOON, ZIRCON, s. The name of a precious stone often mentioned by writers of the
16th century, but respecting the identity of which there seems to be a little obscurity. The English Encyclopaedia,
and the Times Reviewer of Emanuels book On Precious Stones (1866), identify it with the hyacinth
or jacinth; but Lord Stanley of Alderley, in his translation of Barbosa (who mentions the stone several
times under the form giagonza and jagonza), on the authority of a practical jeweller identifies it with
corundum. This is probably an error. Jagonza looks like a corruption of jacinthus. And Haüys Mineralogy
identifies jargon and hyacinth under the common name of zircon. Danas Mineralogy states that the
term hyacinth is applied to these stones, consisting of a silicate of zirconia, which present bright colours,
considerable transparency, and smooth shining surfaces.
The variety from Ceylon, which is colourless,
and has a smoky tinge, and is therefore sold for inferior diamonds, is sometimes called jargon (Syst.
of Mineral., 3rd ed., 1850, 379380; [Encycl. Britt. 9th ed. xxiv. 789 seq.]).
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