I. Let's examine the idea
of cannibalism which seems to linger throughout Hernando Colon's account
of Columbus's trip from 1492-3. Keep in mind the following definitions
(or senses) of the word cannibal, Carib and Caribbean. These definitions
come from the Oxford English Dictionary.
Apparently, however, it was only foreigners who made a place-name out of that of the people: according to Oviedo (Hist. Gen. ii. viii.) caribe signifies `brave and daring', with which Prof. Trumbull compares the Tupi caryba `superior man, he ro, vir'. calib-an is app. another variant = carib-an; cf. Galibi above-mentioned. Columbus's notion on hearing of Caniba was to associate the name with the Grand Khan, whose dominions he believed to be not far distant; he held `que Caniba no es otra cosa sino la gente del Gran Can'. To connect the name with Sp. can, Ital. cane, L. canis dog, was a later delusion, entertained by Geraldini, Bp. of San Domingo, 1521-5; it naturally tickled the etymological fancy of the 16th c., and may have helped to p erpetuate the particular form canibal in association with the sense anthropophagi. See Prof. Trumbull's article, in N. & Q. Ser. v. IV. 171.]
1. A man (esp. a savage) that eats human flesh; a man-eater, an anthropophagite. Originally proper name of the man-eating Caribs of the Antilles.
1553 Eden Treat. New Ind. (tr. Sebastian Munster Cosmog. 15) Arb. 30 Columbus..sayled toward ye South, and at ye length came to the Ilandes of the Canibals. And because he came thether on the Sundaye called the Dominical day, he called the Iland..Dominica..Insula Crucis..was also an Ilande of the Canibales.
1555 Eden Decades New World (tr.
Peter Martyr 1511) i. (Arb.) 66 T he wylde and myscheuous people called
Canibales or Caribes, which were accustomed to eate mannes flesshe (and
called of the olde writers Anthropophagi)..Vexed with the incursions of
these manhuntyng Canibales.
1584 R. Scot Discov. Witchcr. ii. ix, Kin to the Anthropophagi and Canibals.
1594 J. Davis Seaman's Secr. ii. (1607) 12 The Canibals of America flye the presence of men.
1604 Shaks. Oth. i. iii. 143 The Canibals that each others eate.
1661 Hickeringill Jamaica 76 Thence they are call'd Caribs, or Cannibals.
1679 Establ. Test 18 The fierce Cannibals of the West Indies.
1748 Anson Voy. iii. vii. (ed. 4) 480 The necessity of turning canni bal.
1772 Priestley Nat. & Rev. Relig; (1782) III. 50 M. Voltaire..represents the Jews as canibals.
1852 Th. Ross tr. Humboldt's Trav. III. 214 Geraldini, who sought to Latinize all barbarous denominations, recognized in the Cannibals the manners of dogs (canes).
1865 Livingstone Zambesi iii. 67 Nearly all blacks believ e the whites to be cannibals.
b. fig. (sometimes formerly as a strong term of abuse for `bloodthirsty savage').
1563-87 Foxe A. & M; (1684) III. 739 (On Boner's portrait) This Cannibal in three years space Two hundred Martyrs slew.
1593 Shaks. 3 Hen. VI, v. v. 61 Butchers and Villaines, bloudy Caniballes, How sweet a Pl ant haue you vntimely cropt.
1604 Hieron Wks. I. 559 Such are his carnall cardinals, Or rather bloudy canibals.
1845 Stoddart in Encycl. Metrop. (1847) I. 159/1 The late Mr. Windham, an accomplished scholar..whom Mr. Tooke calls..a `cannibal', and `a cowardly assassin'.
1860 Emerson Cond. Life vii. Wks. (Bohn) II. 420 Sick ness is a cannibal which eats up all the life and youth it can lay hold of.
2. An animal that preys on its own
1796 Morse Amer. Geog. I. 696 The shark and great black stingray, are insatiable cannibals.
1881 Darwin Earth Worms i. 37 They [worms] are cannibals.< /font>
3. attrib. Pertaining to a cannibal, cannibal-like; bloodthirsty.
1596 Nashe Saffron Walden 120 He is such a vaine Basilisco..& swarmeth in vile Canniball words;
1607 Chapman Bussy D'Amb. Plays 1873 II. 58 To feede The rauenous wolfe of thy most Canibal valour.
A. 1694 Tillotson Serm. xcix. (1742) VI. 1591 They have the face to complain of the cannibal laws, and bloody persecutions of the church of England.
1790 Burke Fr. Rev. 210 To stimulate their cannibal appetites.
1855 Macaulay Hist. Eng. III. xiv. 400 The street poets portioned out all his joints with cannibal ferocity.
18 73 Spectator 22 Feb. 240/1 He [the shrike] is a cannibal bird.
1555 Eden Decades W. Ind. i. i.
(Arb.) 66 The wylde and myscheuous people called Canibales or Caribes,
whiche were accustomed to eate mannes flesche.
1578 T. N. tr. Conq. W. India 4 Others..looking for death, and to be eaten of the Cariues.
1602 Metamorph. Tabacco (Collier) 10 Which at the Carib es banquet gouern'st all, And gently rul'st the sturdiest Caniball.
1876 Bancroft Hist. U.S. VI. xlii. 259 The oppressed and enslaved Caribs.
B. adj. Of or pertaining to
the Caribs of South and Central America and the West Indies, their culture
or language. Cf. Caribbean
a. 1881 Encycl. Brit. XII. 828/2 In British Guiana the Carib tribes are the Ackawais and Caribisi of the coast and foreign regions, the Arecumas and Macusis of the savannah region.
1933 L. Bloomfield Language iv. 73 In South America, we note..the Arawak and Carib families, which once prevailed in the West Indies.
1951 W. Faulkner Requiem for Nun 37 It was said.. that the man slept at night in a kind of pit at the site of the chateau he was planning, tied wrist to wrist with one of his captor's Carib slaves.
1970 S. Selvon Plains of Caroni i. 9 It [sc. the river] might have sung some primitive Carib tune.
1984 Lang. & Communication IV. ii. 93 Their motivation for attending the dügü is different (curiosity, boredom, a desire to learn about Carib culture);
Hence 'Caribal a. (after cannibal);
1719 De Foe Crusoe (1858) 319 Their
battles with the Caribbeans.
1719 De Foe Crusoe (1858) 320 How 300 Caribbees came and invaded them.
1777 Robertson Hist. Amer. (1783) II. 449 A Caribbean canoe.
1777 Robertson Hist. Amer. II. 450 The Caribbees still use two distinct languages.