SCRIVAN, s. An old word for a clerk or writer, from Port. escrivão.

[1616.—“He desired that some English might early on the Morow come to his howse, wher should meete a Scriuano and finish that busines.”—Sir T. Roe, Hak. Soc. i. 173. On the same page “The Scriuane of Zulpheckcarcon.”]

1673.—“In some Places they write on Cocoe-Leafes dried, and then use an Iron Style, or else on Paper, when they use a Pen made with a Reed, for which they have a Brass Case, which holds them and the Ink too, always stuck at the Girdles of their Scrivans.”Fryer, 191.

1683.—“Mr. Watson in the Taffaty warehouse without any provocation called me Pittyful Prodigall Scrivan, and told me my Hatt stood too high upon my head. …”—Letter of S. Langley, in Hedges’ Diary, Sept. 5; [Hak. Soc. i. 108].

SCYMITAR, s. This is an English word for an Asiatic sabre. The common Indian word is talwar (see TULWAUR). We get it through the French cimiterre, Ital. scimeterra, and according to Marcel Devic originally from Pers. shamshir (chimchir as he writes it). This would be still very obscure unless we consider the constant clerical confusion in the Middle Ages between c and t, which has led to several metamorphoses of words; of which a notable example is Fr. carquois from Pers. tirkash. Scimecirra representing shimshir might easily thus become scimetirra. But we cannot prove this to have been the real origin. This word (shamshir) was known to Greek writers. Thus:

A.D. 93.—“… [Greek Text] Kai kaqisthsi ton presbutaton paida Morobazon basilea periqeisa to diadhma kai dousa ton shmanthra tou patroV daktulion, thnte samyhran onomazomenhn par’ [Greek Text] autoiV.” —Joseph. Antiqq. xx. ii. 3.

c. A.D. 114.—“Dwra ferei Traianw ufasmata shrika kai samyhraV ai de eisi spaqai barbarikai.”—Quoted in Suidas Lexicon, s.v.


“… By this scimitar,
That slew the Sophy, and a Persian prince
That won three fields of Sultan Soliman

Merchant of Venice, ii. 1.

1610.—“… Anon the Patron starting up, as if of a sodaine restored to life; like a mad man skips into the boate, and drawing a Turkise Cymiter, beginneth to lay about him (thinking that his vessell had been surprised by Pirats), when they all leapt into the sea; and diuing vnder water like so many Diue-dappers, ascended without the reach of his furie.”—Sandys, Relation, &c., 1615, p. 28.

1614.—“Some days ago I visited the house of a goldsmith to see a scimitar (scimitarra) that Nasuhbashá the first vizir, whom I have mentioned above, had ordered as a present to the Grand Signor. Scabbard and hilt were all of gold; and all covered with diamonds, so that little or nothing of the gold was to be seen.”—P. della Valle, i. 43.

c. 1630.—“They seldome go without their swords (shamsheers they call them) form’d like a cresent, of pure metall, broad, and sharper than any rasor; nor do they value them, unlesse at one blow they can cut in two an Asinego. …”—Sir T. Herbert, ed. 1638, p. 228.

1675.—“I kept my hand on the Cock of my Carabine; and my Comrade followed a foote pace, as well armed; and our Janizary better than either of us both: but our Armenian had only a Scimeter.”—(Sir) George Wheler, Journey into Greece, London, 1682, p. 252.

1758.—“The Captain of the troop … made a cut at his head with a scymetar which Mr. Lally parried with his stick, and a Coffree (Caffer) servant who attend him shot the Tanjerine dead with a pistol.” —Orme, i. 328.

SEACUNNY, s. This is, in the phraseology of the Anglo-Indian marine, a steersman or quartermaster. The word is the Pers. sukkani, from Ar. sukkan, ‘a helm.’

c. 1580.—“Aos Mocadões, Socões, e Vogas.”—Primor e Honra, &c. f. 68v. (“To the Mocuddums, Seacunnies, and oarsmen.”)

c. 1590.—“Sukkangir, or helmsman. He steers the ship according to the orders of the Mu’allim.”—Ain, i. 280.

1805.—“I proposed concealing myself with 5 men among the bales of cloth, till it should be night, when the Frenchmen being necessarily divided into two watches might be easily overpowered. This was agreed to … till daybreak, when unfortunately descrying the masts of a vessel on our weather beam, which was immediately supposed to be our old friend, the sentiments of every person underwent a most unfortunate alteration, and the Nakhoda, and the Soucan, as well as the Supercargo, informed me that they would not tell a lie for all the world, even to save their lives; and in

  By PanEris using Melati.

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