PENANG to PEON
PENANG, n.p. This is the proper name of the Island adjoining the Peninsula of Malacca (Pulo, properly
Pulau, Pinang), which on its cession to the English (1786) was named Prince of Waless Island. But
this official style has again given way to the old name. Pinang in Malay signifies an areca-nut or areca-
tree, and, according to Crawfurd, the name was given on account of the islands resemblance in form to
the fruit of the tree (vulgo, the betel-nut).
1592.Now the winter coming vpon vs with much contagious weather, we directed our course from
hence with the Ilands of Pulo Pinaou (where by the way is to be noted that Pulo in the Malaian tongue
signifieth an Iland)
where we came to an anker in a very good harborough betweene three Ilands.
This place is in 6 degrees and a halfe to the Northward, and some fiue leagues from the maine betweene
Malacca and Pegu.Barker, in Hakl. ii. 589590.
PENANG, LAWYER s. The popular name of a handsome and hard (but sometimes brittle) walking-
stick, exported from Penang and Singapore.
It is the stem of a miniature palm (Licuala acutifida, Griffith).
The sticks are prepared by scraping the young stem with glass, so as to remove the epidermis and no
more. The sticks are then straightened by fire and polished (Balfour). The name is popularly thought
to have originated in a jocular supposition that law-suits in Penang were decided by the lex baculina.
But there can be little doubt that it is a corruption of some native term, and pinang liyar, wild areca [or
pinang layor, fire-dried areca, which is suggested in N.E.D.], may almost be assumed to be the real
name. [Dennys (Descr. Dict. s.v.) says from Layor, a species of cane furnishing the sticks so named.
But this is almost certainly wrong.]
1883.(But the bookan excellent oneis without datemore shame to the Religious Tract Society
which publishes it). Next morning, taking my Penang lawyer to defend myself from dogs.
note is added: A Penang lawyer is a heavy walking-stick, supposed to be so called from its usefulness
in settling disputes in Penang.Gilmour, Among the Mongols, 14.
PENGUIN, s. Popular name of several species of birds belonging to the genera Aptenodytes and
Spheniscus. We have not been able to ascertain the etymology of this name. It may be from the Port.
pingue, fat. See Littré. He quotes Clausius as picturing it, who says they were called a pinguedine. It is
surely not that given by Sir Thomas Herbert in proof of the truth of the legend of Madocs settlement in
America; and which is indeed implied 60 years before by the narrator of Drakes voyage; though probably
borrowed by Herbert direct from Selden. 1578.In these Islands we found greate relief and plenty of
good victuals, for infinite were the number of fowle which the Welsh men named Penguin, and Magilanus
tearmed them geese.
Drakes Voyage, by F. Fletcher, Hak. Soc. p. 72.
1593.The pengwin described.Hawkins,
V. to S. Sea, p. 111, Hak. Soc.
1606.The Pengwines bee as bigge as our greatest Capons
we have in England, they have no winges nor cannot flye
they bee exceeding fatte, but their flesh is
Middleton, f. B. 4.
1609.Nous trouvâmes beauco
up de Chies de Mer, et Oyseaux quon appelle Penguyns, dont lEscueil en estait quasi couvert.Houtman, p. 4.
le reste est
dvne quantité dOyseaux nommez pinguy, qui font là leurs oeufs et leurs petits, et il y en
a une quantité si prodigieuse quon ne sçauroit mettre
le pied en quelque endroit que ce soit sans
toucher.Pyrard de Laval, i. 73; [Hak. Soc. i. 97, also see i. 16].
1612.About the year CIO. C.LXX.
Madoc brother to David ap Owen, prince of Wales, made this sea voyage (to Florida); and by probability
these names of Capo de Briton in Norumbeg, and Pengwin in part of the Northern America, for a
white pepper rock, and a white-headed bird, according to the British, were relicks of this discovery.Selden,
Notes on Draytons Polyolbion, in Works (ed. 1726), iii. col. 1802.
1616.The Island called
Pen-guin Island, probably so named by some Welshman, in whose Language Pen-guin signifies a
white head; and there are many great lazy fowls upon, and about, this Island, with great cole-black bodies,
and very white heads, called Penguins.Terry, ed. 1665, p. 334.
that this people (of the
Mexican traditions) were Welsh rather than Spaniards or others, the Records of this Voyage writ by
many Bardhs and Genealogists confirme it
made more orthodoxall by Welsh names given there to
birds, rivers, rocks, beasts, &c., as
Pengwyn, referd by them to a bird that has a white head.
Some Yeares Travels, &c., p. 360.
Unfortunately for this etymology the head is precisely that part which
seems in all species of the bird to be olack! But M. Roulin, quoted by Littré, maintains the Welsh (or Breton)