[SOMBA, SOMBAY, s. A present. Malay sambah-an.

[1614.—“Sombay or presents.”—Foster, Letters, ii. 112.

[1615.—“… concluded rather than pay the great Somba of eight hundred reals.”—Ibid. iv. 43.]

SOMBRERO, s. Port. sumbreiro. In England we now understand by this word a broad-brimmed hat; but in older writers it is used for an umbrella. Summerhead is a name in the Bombay Arsenal (as M.- Gen. Keatinge tells me) for a great umbrella. I make no doubt that it is a corruption (by ‘striving after meaning’) of Sombreiro, and it is a capital example of Hobson-Jobson.

1503.—“And the next day the Captain-Major before daylight embarked armed with all his people in the boats, and the King (of Cochin) in his boats which they call tones (see DONEY) … and in the tone of the King went his Sombreiros, which are made of straw, of a diameter of 4 palms, mounted on very long canes, some 3 or 4 fathoms in height. These are used for state ceremonial, showing that the King is there in person, as it were his pennon or royal banner, for no other lord in his realm may carry the like.”—Correa, i. 378.

1516.—“And besides the page I speak of who carries the sword, they take another page who carries a sombreiro with a stand to shade his master, and keep the rain off him; and some of these are of silk stuff finely wrought, with many fringes of gold, and set with stones and seed pearl. …”—Barbosa, Lisbon ed. 298.

1553.—“At this time Dom Jorge discerned a great body of men coming towards where he was standing, and amid them a sombreiro on a lofty staff, covering the head of a man on horseback, by which token he knew it to be some noble person. This sombreiro is a fashion in India coming from China, and among the Chinese no one may use it but a gentleman, for it is a token of nobility, which we may describe as a one-handed pallium (having regard to those which we use to see carried by four, at the reception of some great King or Prince on his entrance into a city). …”—Barros, III. x. 9. Then follows a minute description of the sombreiro or umbrella.

[1599.—“… a great broad sombrero or shadow in their hands to defend them in the Summer from the Sunne, and in the Winter from the Raine.”—Hakl. II. i. 261 (Stanf. Dict.).

[1602.—In his character of D. Pedro Mascarenhas, the Viceroy, Couto says he was anxious to change certain habits of the Portuguese in India: “One of these was to forbid the tall sombreiros for warding off the rain and sun, to relieve men of the expence of paying those who carried them; he himself did not have one, but used a woollen umbrella with small cords (?), which they called for many years Mascarenkas. Afterwards finding the sun intolerable and the rain immoderate, he permitted the use of tall umbrellas, on the condition that private slaves should bear them, to save the wages of the Hindus who carry them, and are called boys de sombreiro (see BOY).”—Couto, Dec. VII. Bk. i. ch. 12.]

c. 1630.—“Betwixt towns men usually travel in Chariots drawn by Oxen, but in Towns upon Palamkeens, and with Sombreros de Sol over them.”—Sir T. Herbert, ed. 1665, p. 46.

1657.—“A costé du cheval il y a un homme qui esvente Wistnou, afin qu’il ne reçoive point d’incommodité soit par les mouches, ou par la chaleur; et à chaque costé on porte deux Zombreiros, afin que le Soleil ne luise pas sur luy. …”—Abr. Roger, Fr. Tr. ed. 1670, p. 223.

1673.—“None but the Emperor have a Sumbrero among the Moguls.”—Fryer, 36.

1727.—“The Portuguese ladies … sent to beg the Favour that he would pick them out some lusty Dutch men to carry their Palenqueens and Somereras or Umbrellas.”—A. Hamilton, i. 338; [ed. 1744, i. 340].

1768–71.—“Close behind it, followed the heir-apparent, on foot, under a sambreel, or sunshade, of state.”—Stavorinus, E.T. i. 87.

[1845.—“No open umbrellas or summer-heads allowed to pass through the gates.”—Public Notice on Gates of Bombay Town, in Douglas, Glimpses of Old Bombay, 86.]

SOMBRERO, CHANNEL OF THE, n.p. The channel between the northern part of the Nicobar group, and the southern part embracing the Great and Little Nicobar, has had this name since the early Portuguese days. The origin of the name is given by A. Hamilton below. The indications in C. Federici and Hamilton are probably not accurate. They do not agree with those given by Horsburgh.

1566.—“Si passa per il canale di Nicubar, ouero per quello del Sombrero, li quali son per mezzo l’isola di Sumatra. …”—C. Federici, in Ramusio, iii. 391.

1727.—“The Islands off this Part of the Coast are the Nicobars. … The northernmost Cluster is low, and are called the Carnicubars. … The middle Cluster is fine champain Ground, and all but one, well inhabited. They are called the Somerera Islands, because

  By PanEris using Melati.

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