b. This word, through circumstances which have been fully elucidated by Bishop Caldwell in his Comparative Grammar (2nd ed. 10–12), from which we give an extract below,1 was applied by the Portuguese not only to the language and people of the country thus called, but also to the Tamil language and the people speaking Tamil. In the quotations following, those under A apply, or may apply, to the proper people or language of Malabar (see MALAYALAM); those under B are instances of the misapplication to Tamil, a misapplication which was general (see e.g. in Orme, passim) down to the beginning of the last century, and which still holds among the more ignorant Europeans and Eurasians in S. India and Ceylon.


1552.—“A lingua dos Gentios de Canara e Malabar.”—Castanheda, ii. 78.


“Leva alguns Malabares, que tomou
Por força, dos que o Samorim mandara.”

Camões, ix. 14.

[By Aubertin:

“He takes some Malabars he kept on board By force, of those whom Samorin had sent …”]

1582.—“They asked of the Malabars which went with him what he was?”—Castañeda, (tr. by N. L.) f. 37v.

1602.—“We came to anchor in the Roade of Achen … where we found sixteene or eighteene saile of shippes of diuers Nations, some Goserats, some of Bengala, some of Calecut, called Malabares, some Pegues, and some Patanyes.”—Sir J. Lancaster, in Purchas, i. 153.

1606.—In Gouvea (Synodo, ff. 2v, 3, &c.) Malavar means the Malayalam language.


1549.—“Enrico Enriques, a Portuguese priest of our Society, a man of excellent virtue and good example, who is now in the Promontory of Comorin, writes and speaks the Malabar tongue very well indeed.”—Letter of Xavier, in Coleridge’s Life, ii. 73.

1680.—“Whereas it hath been hitherto accustomary at this place to make sales and alienations of houses in writing in the Portuguese, Gentue, and Mallabar languages, from which some inconveniences have arisen. …”—Ft. St. Geo. Consn., Sept 9, in Notes and Extracts, No. iii. 33.

[1682.—“An order in English Portuguez Gentue & Mallabar for the preventing the transportation of this Countrey People and makeing them slaves in other Strange Countreys. …”—Pringle, Diary Ft. St. Geo., 1st ser. i. 87.]

1718.—“This place (Tranquebar) is altogether inhabited by Malabarian Heathens.”—Propn. of the Gospel in the East, Pt. i. (3rd ed.), p. 18.

„ “Two distinct languages are necessarily” required; one is the Damulian, commonly called Malabarick.”—Ibid. Pt. iii. 33.

1734.—“Magnopere commendantes zelum, ac studium Missionariorum, qui libros sacram Ecclesiae Catholicae doctrinam, rerumque sacrarum monumenta continentes, pro Indorum Christi fidelium eruditione in linguam Malabaricam seu Tamulicam transtulere.”—Brief of Pope Clement XII., in Norbert, ii. 432–3. These words are adopted from Card. Tournon’s decree of 1704 (see ibid. i. 173).

c. 1760.—“Such was the ardent zeal of M. Ziegenbalg that in less than a year he attained a perfect knowledge of the Malabarian tongue. … He composed also a Malabarian dictionary of 20,000 words.”—Grose, i. 261.

1782.—“Les habitans de la côte de Coromandel sont appellés Tamouls; les Européens les nomment improprement Malabars.”—Sonnerat, i. 47.

1801.—“From Niliseram to the Chandergerry River no language is understood but the Malabars of the Coast.”—Sir T. Mukro, in Life, i. 322.

In the following passage the word Malabars is misapplied still further, though by a writer usually most accurate and intelligent:

1810.—“The language spoken at Madras is the Talinga, here called Malabars.”—Maria Graham, 128.

1860.—“The term ‘Malabar’ is used throughout the following pages in the comprehensive sense in which it is applied in the Singhalese Chronicles to the continental invaders of Ceylon; but it must be observed that the adventurers in these expeditions, who are styled in the Mahawansodamilos,’ or Tamils, came not only from … ‘Malabar,’ but also from all parts of the Peninsula as far north as Cuttack and Orissa.”—Tennent’s Ceylon, i. 353.

MALABAR-CREEPER, s. Argyreia malabarica, Choisy.

[MALABAR EARS, s. The seed vessels of a tree which Ives calls Codaga palli.

1773.—“From their shape they are called Malabar-Ears, on account of the resemblance they bear to the ears of the women of the Malabar coast, which from the large slit made in them and the great weight of ornamental rings put into them, are rendered very large, and so long that sometimes they touch the very shoulders.”—Ives, 465.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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