"Guinea" etymology

Douglas G. Wilson douglas at NB.NET
Mon May 3 02:19:48 UTC 2010

Jonathan Lighter wrote:
> ....
> Did Italy ever try to colonize New Guinea ca1880?  (ISTR a ref., but it may
> have not have been a very serious attempt, or publicized in the U.S.

There was talk of such an attempt around 1879 but apparently it didn't

> How many Italian surnames end in "-ghini"?

A bunch, I guess (Italy has a huge number of surnames). None of the top
20 per Wikipedia however. Some names and name-suffixes apparently are
strongly regional, so an expert (but not I) might be able to guess
whether a surname or even a surname-ending corresponded to a likely
region of origin.

I did a quick search earlier for "ghini" etc. without anything
suggestive turning up (but it's easy to see that not everything would
appear). I found news reports of a criminal case in Italy around 1874
with alleged murderers named Menghini but I doubt any relevance
(although the story was 'sensational', with a larcenous monk taking a
nun as a mistress, only to be killed by her and her brother for his
money when she became enamored of another man ... IIRC).

-- Doug Wilson

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

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