Definitions starting with C

ID #4103

Conch

/kohngk/ [from conch, the large sea snail (Strombus sp.) eaten by Bahamians; cf. OED Conch "a local nickname for the lower class of inhabitants of the Bahamas, the Florida Keys, etc., from their extensive use of conchs as food. (Also written conk)"; cf. US dial. South conch a descendant of the early English settlers on the lower east coast of Florida (Ayres 1950:75); cf. Honduran Sp. pirates caracoles (lit, pirate conchs) white Bay Islanders (F. Kalm p.c.)]

n. 1. Obs. any native Bahamian (white or black): 1804 The inhabitants of the Bahama Islands, pre­vious to the American war, when the loyalists from the southern part of the United States re­moved to them, and introduced the general cul­tivation of cotton, were principally engaged in a seafaring life; and from a lively allusion to the large and beautiful species of shells with which their shores abound, by their visitors were nick­named Conchs. These are the persons generally employed, with their slaves, in the occupation of wrecking (McKinnen 140). 1869 The inhabitants of the Bahamas. . are called (and call themselves) "Conchs" (Bacot 4). 1895 Every hut has its quota of a dozen little black "Conchs" (Edwards 16).

2. white Bahamians, especially those who are poor: 1888 The native white inhabitants of the Bahamas are now universally called "Conchs" (Powles 40). 1942 You can't stop a conch from beating the government [of white merchants] (Tribune). 1978 "Conch" in more recent usage mainly applies to Bahamian whites (Bethel 165). cf. CONKY JOE (Gen.)

adj. Obs. Bahamian: 1895 Bahama, . .speech is a mixture of negro dialect, "Conch" cockney, and correct English (Edwards 19).

Tags: adjective, noun

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Last update: 2012-01-11 03:01
Author: Holm and Shilling, DBE, 1982
Revision: 1.2

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