PATACA to PATECA
PATACA, PATACOON, s. Ital. patacco; Provenc. patac; Port. pataca and patação; also used in Malayalam. A term, formerly much diffused, for a dollar or piece of eight. Littré connects it with an old French word patard, a kind of coin, du reste, origine inconnue. But he appears to have overlooked the explanation indicated by Volney (Voyage en Egypte, &c., ch. ix. note) that the name abutaka (or corruptly bataka, see also Dozy & Eng. s.v.) was given by the Arabs to certain coins of this kind with a scutcheon on the reverse, the term meaning father of the window, or niche; the scutcheon being taken for such an object. Similarly, the pillar-dollars are called in modern Egypt abu medfa, father of a cannon; and the Maria Theresa dollar abu tera, father of the bird. But on the Red Sea, where only the coinage of one particular year (or the modern imitation thereof, still struck at Trieste from the old die), is accepted, it is abu nukat, father of dots, from certain little points which mark the right issue.
[1528.Each of the men engaged in the attack on Purakkat received no less than 800 gold Pattaks (ducats) as his share.Logan, Malabar, i. 329.
PATCH, s. Thin pieces of cloth at Madras (Indian Vocabulary, 1788). Wilson gives patch as a vulgar abbreviation for Telug. pachchadamu, a particular kind of cotton cloth, generally 24 cubits long and 2 broad; two cloths joined together.
[1667.Pray if can procuer a good Pallenkeen bambo and 2 patch of ye finest with what colours you thinke hansome for my own wear, chockoloes and susaes (see SOOSIE).In Yule, Hedges Diary, Hak. Soc. ii. cclxii.]
PATCHARÉE, PATCHERRY, PARCHERRY, s. In the Bengal Presidency, before the general construction
of married quarters by Government, patcharée was the name applied in European corps to the cottages
which used to form the quarters of married soldiers. The origin of the word is obscure, and it has been
suggested that it was a corruption of Hind nichchhari, the rear, because these cottages were in rear
of the barracks. But we think it most likely that the word was brought, with many other terms peculiar to
the British soldier in India, from Madras, and is identical with a term in use there, parcherry or patcherry,
which represents the Tam. parashsheri, paraiççeri, a Pariah village, or rather the quarter
or outskirts of a town or village where the Pariahs reside. Mr. Whitworth (s.v. Patcherry) says that in
some native regiments the term denotes the married sepoys quarters, possibly because Pariah sepoys
had their families with them, while the higher castes left them at home. He does not say whether Bombay
or Madras sepoys are in question. But in any case what he states confirms the origin ascribed to the
Bengal Presidency term Patcharée. 1747.Patcheree Point, mending Platforms and Gunports
4: 21: 48.Accounts from Ft. St. David, under Feb. 21. MS. Records, in India Office.
PATCHOULI, PATCH - LEAF, also PUTCH and PUTCHA-LEAF, s. In Beng. pachapat; Deccani
Hind. pacholi. The latter are trade names of the dried leaves of a labiate plant allied to mint (Pogostemon
patchouly, Pelletier). It is supposed to be a cultivated variety of Pogostemon Heyneanus, Bentham,
a native of the Deccan. It is grown in native gardens throughout India, Ceylon, and the Malay Islands,
and the dried flowering spikes and leaves of the plant, which are used, are sold in every bazar in Hindustan.
The pacha-pat is used as an ingredient in tobacco for smoking, as hair-scent by women, and especially
for stuffing mattresses and laying among clothes as we use lavender. In a fluid form patchouli was
introduced into England in 1844, and soon became very fashionable as a perfume.
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