Tangram (now 1809 -- or 1712?)

Douglas G. Wilson douglas at NB.NET
Wed Sep 12 00:02:05 UTC 2007

>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.

I don't agree (that this is good evidence for such a supposition).

It seems that "tangram" appeared (by 1809) as a synonym of "trangram"
= "intricately contrived thing" or so. The similarity is too great
for coincidence to be likely IMHO, and the three instances shown
recently here are too many for accidental isolated typos., so my
default supposition is that "tangram" < "trangram" before 1809 (i.e.,
*AFAIK*, before either word had specific application to a Chinese puzzle).

As for why "trangram" > "tangram", I suppose it might be the same
reason as for "trangam" > "trangram", i.e., I don't know, maybe just
an error which was copied.

Maybe more information will come in later.

-- Doug Wilson

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