TOMBACK, s. An alloy of copper and zinc, i.e. a particular modification of brass, formerly imported from Indo-Chinese countries. Port. tambaca, from Malay tambaga and tambaga, ‘copper,’ which is again from Skt. tamrika and tamra.

1602.—“Their drummes are huge pannes made of a metall called Tombaga, which makes a most hellish sound.”—Scott, Discourse of Iaua, in Purchas, i. 180.

1690.—“This Tombac is a kind of Metal, whose scarcity renders it more valuable than Gold. … ”Tis thought to be a kind of natural Compound of Gold, Silver, and Brass, and in some places the mixture is very Rich, as at Borneo, and the Moneilloes, in others more allayed, as at Siam.”—Ovington, 510.

1759.—“The Productions of this Country (Siam) are prodigious quantities of Grain, Cotton, Benjamin … and Tambanck.”—In Dalrymple, i. 119.

TOM-TOM, s. Tamtam, a native drum. The word comes from India, and is chiefly used there. Forbes (Ras-Mala, ii. 401) [ed. 1878, p. 665] says the thing is so called because used by criers who beat it tam-tam, ‘place by place,’ i.e. first at one place, then at another. But it is rather an onomatopoeia, not belonging to any language in particular. In Ceylon it takes the form tamattama, in Tel. tappeta, in Tam. tambattam; in Malay it is ton-ton, all with the same meaning. [When badminton was introduced at Satara natives called it Tamtam phul khel, tam-tam meaning ‘battledore,’ and the shuttlecock looked like a flower (phul). Tommy Atkins promptly turned this into “Tom Fool” (Calcutta Rev. xcvi. 346).] In French the word tamtam is used, not for a drum of any kind, but for a Chinese gong (q.v.). M. Littré, however, in the Supplement to his Dict., remarks that this use is erroneous.

1693.—“It is ordered that to-morrow morning the Choultry Justices do cause the Tom Tom to be beat through all the Streets of the Black Town. … ”—In Wheeler, i. 268.

1711.—“Their small Pipes, and Tom Toms, instead of Harmony made the Discord the greater.”—Lockyer, 235.

1755.—In the Calcutta Mayor’s expenses we find:

Tom Tom, R. 1 1 0.”—In Long, 56.

1764.—“You will give strict orders to the Zemindars to furnish Oil and Musshauls, and Tom Toms and Pikemen, &c., according to custom.”—Ibid. 391.

1770.—“ … An instrument of brass which the Europeans lately borrowed from the Turks to add to their military music, and which is called a tam” (!).—Abbé Raynal, tr. 1777, i. 30.

1789.—“An harsh kind of music from a tom-tom or drum, accompanied by a loud rustic pipe, sounds from different parties throughout the throng. … ”—Munro, Narrative, 73.

1804.—“I request that they may be hanged; and let the cause of their punishment be published in the bazar by beat of tom-tom.”—Wellington, iii. 186.

1824.—“The Mahrattas in my vicinity kept up such a confounded noise with the tamtams, cymbals, and pipes, that to sleep was impossible.”—Seely, Wonders of Ellora, ch. iv.

1836.—For the use of the word by Dickens, see under GUM-GUM.

1862.—“The first musical instruments were without doubt percussive sticks, calabashes, tomtoms.”—Herbert Spencer, First Principles, 356.

1881.—“The tom-tom is ubiquitous. It knows no rest. It is content with depriving man of his. It selects by preference the hours of the night as the time for its malign influence to assert its most potent sway. It reverberates its dull unmeaning monotones through the fitful dreams which sheer exhaustion brings. It inspires delusive hopes by a brief lull only to break forth with refreshed vigour into wilder ecstacies of maniacal fury—accompanied with nasal incantations and protracted howls. … ”—Overland Times of India, April 14.

TONGA, s. A kind of light and small two-wheeled vehicle, Hind. tanga, [Skt. tamanga, ‘a platform’]. The word has become familiar of late years, owing to the use of the tonga in a modified form on the roads leading up to Simla, Darjeeling, and other hill-stations. [Tavernier speaks of a carriage of this kind, but does not use the word:

[c. 1665.—“They have also, for travelling, small, very light, carriages which contain two persons; but usually one travels alone … to which they harness a pair of oxen only. These carriages, which are provided, like ours, with curtains and cushions, are not slung. … ”—Tavernier, ed. Ball, i. 44.]

1874.—“The villages in this part of the country are usually superior to those in Poona or Sholápur, and the people appear to be in good circumstances. … The custom too, which is common, of driving light Tongas drawn by ponies or oxen points to the same conclusion.”—Settlement Report of Násik.

1879.—“A tongha dâk has at last been started between Rajpore and Dehra. The first tongha took only 5½hours from Rajpore to Saharunpore.”—Pioneer Mail.

1880.—“In the (Times) of the 19th of April we are told that ‘Syud Mahomed

  By PanEris using Melati.

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