- guinea:  Guinea first emerged as the name of a section of the West Africa continent in the late 16th century (its origins are not known, but presumably it was based on an African word). In 1663 the Royal Mint began to produce a gold coin valued at 20 shillings ‘for the use of the Company of Royal Adventurers of England trading with Africa’. It had the figure of an elephant on it.
Straightaway it became known as a guinea, both because its use was connected with the Guinea coast and because it was made from gold obtained there. And what is more, the coins soon came to be much in demand for domestic use: on 29 October 1666 Samuel Pepys recorded ‘And so to my goldsmith to bid him look out for some gold for me; and he tells me that Ginnys, which I bought 2000 of not long ago, and cost me but 18½d. change, will now cost me 22d., and but very few to be had at any price.
However, some more I will have, for they are very convenient – and of easy disposal’. Its value fluctuated, and was not fixed at 21 shillings until 1717. The last one was minted in 1813, but guinea as a term for the amount 21 shillings stayed in use until the early 1970s, when the decimalization of British currency dealt it the deathblow. The guinea pig , incidentally, comes from South America, and its name probably arose from a confusion between Guinea and Guiana, on the northern coast of South America.
- guinea (n.)
- former British coin, 1660s, from Guinea, because the coins were first minted for British trade with Guinea (but soon in domestic use) and with gold from Africa. The original guinea was in use from 1663 to 1813.
- region along the west coast of Africa, presumably from an African word (perhaps Tuareg aginaw "black people"). As a derogatory term for "an Italian" (1896) it is from Guinea Negro (1740s) "black person, person of mixed ancestry;" applied to Italians probably because of their dark complexions relative to northern Europeans, and after 1911 it was occasionally applied to Hispanics and Pacific Islanders as well. New Guinea was so named 1546 by Spanish explorer Inigo Ortiz de Retes in reference to the natives' dark skin and tightly curled hair. The Guinea hen (1570s) is a domestic fowl imported from there. Related: Guinean.
- 1. The pheasant is a close relative of the Guinea hen.
- 2. Papua New Guinea became independent from Australia in 1975.
- 3. Students in fifty schools are to act as guinea pigs for these new teaching methods.
- 4. Chestnuts can be used at Christmas time, as a stuffing for turkey, guinea fowl or chicken.
- 5. Nearly 500,000 pupils are to be guinea pigs in a trial run of the new 14-plus exams.
[ guinea 造句 ]