Tangram (now 1809 -- or 1712?)

Douglas G. Wilson douglas at NB.NET
Mon Sep 10 16:28:54 UTC 2007

>Is "trangrams" a misprint?  And who said "tangrams and gimcracks" first?
>1712 Arbuthnot John Bull iii. vi, What a Devil! is the meaning of all
>these trangrams and gimcracks [surveying instruments]
>gentlemen?  [OED2, s.v. "gimcrack"; "trangram" does not occur elsewhere.]

By Google Books I find an earlier printed version of the 1829 item
which I presented earlier: it is from 1827 and shows "trangrams" (=
"Chinese puzzles").

If "tangram" came from an alteration of "trangram", then whence
"trangram"? Probably a variant of nearly synonymous "trangam", right?
(This last is old: see OED.)

Now we're getting somewhere. ("Tangam" is good Latin ....)

-- Doug Wilson

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