RAMASAMMY, s. This corruption of Ramaswami (‘Lord Rama’), a common Hindu proper name in the South, is there used colloquially in two ways:

(a). As a generic name for Hin dus, like ‘Tommy Atkins’ for a British soldier. Especially applied to Indian coolies in Ceylon, &c.

(b). For a twisted roving of cotton in a tube (often of wrought silver) used to furnish light for a cigar (see FULEETA). Madras use:


[1843.—“I have seen him almost swallow it, by Jove, like Ramo Samee, the Indian juggler.”—Thackeray, Book of Snobs, ch. i.]

1880.—“…if you want a clerk to do your work or a servant to attend on you,…you would take on a saponaceous Bengali Baboo, or a servile abject Madrasi Ramasammy…. A Madrasi, even if wrongly abused, would simply call you his father, and his mother, and his aunt, defender of the poor, and epitome of wisdom, and would take his change out of you in the bazaar accounts.”—Cornhill Mag., Nov., pp. 582–3.

RAMBOTANG, s. Malay, rambutan (Filet, No. 6750, p. 256). The name of a fruit (Nephelium lappaceum, L.), common in the Straits, having a thin luscious pulp, closely adhering to a hard stone, and covered externally with bristles like those of the external envelope of a chestnut. From rambut, ‘hair.’

1613.—“And other native fruits, such as bachoes (perhaps bachang, the Mangifera foetida ?) rambotans, rambes,1 buasducos,1 and pomegranates, and innumerable others….”—Godinho de Eredia, 16.

1726.—“…the ramboetan-tree (the fruit of which the Portuguese call froeta dos caffaros or Caffer’s fruit).”—Valentijn (v.) Sumatra, 3.

1727.—“The Rambostan is a Fruit about the Bigness of a Walnut, with a tough Skin, beset with Capillaments; within the Skin is a very savoury Pulp.”—A. Hamilton, ii. 81; [ed. 1744, ii. 80].

1783.—“Mangustines, rambustines, &c.”—Forrest, Mergui, 40.

[1812.—“…mangustan, rhambudan, and dorian…”—Heyne, Tracts, 411.]

RAMDAM, s. Hind. from Ar. ramazan (ramadhan). The ninth Mahommedan lunar month, viz. the month of the Fast.

1615.—“…at this time, being the preparation to the Ramdam or Lent.”—Sir T. Roe, in Purchas, i. 537; [Hak. Soc. i. 21; also 58, 72, ii. 274].

1623.—“The 29th June: I think that (to-day ?) the Moors have commenced their ramadhan, according to the rule by which I calculate.”—P. della Valle, ii. 607; [Hak. Soc. i. 179].

1686.—“They are not…very curious or strict in observing any Days or Times of particular Devotions, except it be Ramdam time as we call it…. In this time they fast all Day….”—Dampier, i. 343.

RAMOOSY, n.p. The name of a very distinct caste in W. India, Mahr. Ramosi, [said to be from Mahr. ranavasi, ‘jungle-dweller’]; originally one of the thieving castes. Hence they came to be employed as hereditary watchmen in villages, paid by cash or by rent-free lands, and by various petty dues. They were supposed to be responsible for thefts till the criminals were caught; and were often themselves concerned. They appear to be still commonly employed as hired chokidars by Anglo-Indian households in the west. They come chiefly from the country between Poona and Kolhapur. The surviving traces of a Ramoosy dialect contain Telegu words, and have been used in more recent days as a secret slang. [See an early account of the tribe in: “An Account of the Origin and Present condition of the tribe of Ramoosies, including the Life of the Chief Oomíah Naik, by Capt. Alexander Mackintosh of the Twenty-seventh Regiment, Madras Army,” Bombay 1833.]

[1817.—“His Highness must long have been aware of Ramoosees near the Mahadeo pagoda.”—Elphinstone’s Letter to Peshwa, in Papers relating to E.I. Affairs, 23.]

1833.—“There are instances of the Ramoosy Naiks, who are of a bold and daring spirit, having a great ascendancy over the village Patells (Patel) and Koolkurnies (Coolcurnee), but which the latter do not like to acknowledge openly…and it sometimes happens that the village officers participate in the profits which the Ramoosies derive from committing such irregularities.”—Macintosh, Acc. of the Tribe of Ramoossies, p. 19.

1883.—“Till a late hour in the morning he (the chameleon) sleeps sounder than a ramoosey or a chowkeydar; nothing will wake him.”—Tribes on My Frontier.

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