SNEAKER, s. A large cup (or small basin) with a saucer and cover. The native servants call it sinigar. We had guessed that it was perhaps formed in some way from sini in the sense of ‘china-ware,’ or from the same word, used in Ar. and Pers., in the sense of ‘a salver’ (see CHINA, s.). But we have since seen that the word is not only in Grose’s Lexicon Balatronicum, with the explanation ‘a small bowl,’ but is also in Todd: ‘A small vessel of drink.’ A sneaker of punch is a term still used in several places for a small bowl; and in fact it occurs in the Spectator and other works of the 18th century. So the word is of genuine English origin; no doubt of a semi-slang kind.

1714.—“Our little burlesque authors, who are the delight of ordinary readers, generally abound in these pert phrases, which have in them more vivacity than wit. I lately saw an instance of this kind of writing, which gave me so truly an idea of it, that I could not forbear begging a copy of the letter. …

“Past 2 o’clock and “DEAR JACK, a frosty morning. “I have just left the Right Worshipful and his myrmidons about a sneaker of 5 gallons. The whole magistracy was pretty well disguised before I gave them the slip.” The Spectator, No. 616. 1715.—

“Hugh Peters is making
A sneaker within
For Luther, Buchanan,
John Knox, and Calvin;
And when they have toss’d off
A brace of full bowls,
You’ll swear you ne’er met
With honester souls.”

Bp. Burnett’s Descent into Hell. In Political Ballads of the 17th and 18th centuries. Annotated by W. W. Wilkins, 1860, ii. 172.

1743.—“Wild … then retired to his seat of contemplation, a night-cellar, where, without a single farthing in his pocket, he called for a sneaker of punch, and placing himself on a bench by himself, he softly vented the following soliloquy.”—Fielding, Jonathan Wild, Bk. ii. ch. iv.

1772.—“He received us with great cordiality, and entreated us all, five in number, to be seated in a bungalow, where there were only two broken chairs. This compliment we could not accept of; he then ordered five sneakers of a mixture which he denominated punch.”—Letter in Forbes, Or. Mem. iv. 217.

[SNOW RUPEE, s. A term in use in S. India, which is an excellent example of a corruption of the ‘Hobson- Jobson’ type. It is an Anglo-Indian corruption of the Tel. tsanauvu, ‘authority, currency.’]

SOFALA, n.p. Ar. Sufala, a district and town of the East African coast, the most remote settlement towards the south made upon that coast by the Arabs. The town is in S. Lat. 20° 10’, more that 2° south of the Zambesi delta. The territory was famous in old days for the gold produced in the interior, and also for iron. It was not visited by V. da Gama either in going or returning.

c. 1150.—“This section embraces the description of the remainder of the country of Sofala. … The inhabitants are poor, miserable, and without resources to support them except iron; of this metal there are numerous mines in the mountains of Sofala. The people of the islands … come hither for iron, which they carry to the continent and islands of India … for although there is iron in the islands and in the mines of that country, it does not equal the iron of Sofala.”—Edrisi, i. 65.

c. 1220.—“Sofala is the most remote known city in the country of the Zenj … wares are carried to them, and left by the merchants who then go away, and coming again find that the natives have laid down the price [they are willing to give] for every article beside it. … Sofali gold is well-known among the Zenj merchants.”—Yakut, Mu’jam al-Buldan, s.v.

In his article on the gold country, Yakut describes the kind of dumb trade in which the natives decline to come face to face with the merchants at greater length. It is a practice that has been ascribed to a great variety of uncivilized races; e.g. in various parts of Africa; in the extreme north of Europe and of Asia; in the Clove Islands; to the Veddas of Ceylon, to the Poliars of Malabar, and (by Pliny, surely under some mistake) to the Seres or Chinese. See on this subject a note in Marco Polo, Bk. iv. ch. 21; a note by Mr. De B. Priaulx, in J. R. As. Soc., xviii. 348 (in which several references are erroneously printed); Tennent’s Ceylon, i. 593 seqq.; Rawlinson’s Herodotus, under Bk. iv. ch. 196.

c. 1330.—“Sofala is situated in the country of the Zenj. According to the author of the Kánún, the inhabitants are Muslim. Ibn Sayd says that their chief means of subsistence are the extraction of gold and of iron, and that their clothes are of leopard-skin.”—Abulfeda, Fr. Tr. i. 222.

„ “A merchant told me that the town of Sofala is a half month’s

  By PanEris using Melati.

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