Tangram (now 1809 -- or 1712?)

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Tue Sep 11 11:31:25 UTC 2007

At 9/10/2007 08:50 PM, Benjamin Barrett wrote:
>At www.mandarintools.com, I found tangram as 七巧板 (qī qiǎo bǎn - qi1
>qiao3 ban3) or seven skillful boards.
>Google Images gives 4440 hits
>None of this, of course, is proof of whether they originated in China or
>elsewhere. They may very well have been imported from China and named
>with the clever pun on trangram. BB

Considering also that the earliest citations
found so far for the "Chinese" puzzle (1819,
1820) explicitly call them Chinese, I think this
is good evidence for a supposition that the name
came from the Chinese.  The 1700's book in
Chinese at Harvard may be even better evidence of
(word and game) origin (it almost surely is
independent of Johnson).  The "clever pun" may be accidental.

It also now seems to me that my thought about
"trangam" -> "tangram" is not likely.


The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

More information about the Ads-l mailing list