- \ \  Guinea first emerged as the name of a section of the West Africa continent in the late 16th century (its origins are not known, but presumably it was based on an African word). In 1663 the Royal Mint began to produce a gold coin valued at 20 shillings ‘for the use of the Company of Royal Adventurers of England trading with Africa’. It had the figure of an elephant on it. Straightaway it became known as a guinea, both because its use was connected with the Guinea coast and because it was made from gold obtained there. And what is more, the coins soon came to be much in demand for domestic use: on 29 October 1666 Samuel Pepys recorded ‘And so to my goldsmith to bid him look out for some gold for me; and he tells me that Ginnys, which I bought 2000 of not long ago, and cost me but 18½d. change, will now cost me 22d., and but very few to be had at any price. However, some more I will have, for they are very convenient – and of easy disposal’. Its value fluctuated, and was not fixed at 21 shillings until 1717. The last one was minted in 1813, but guinea as a term for the amount 21 shillings stayed in use until the early 1970s, when the decimalization of British currency dealt it the deathblow.\ \ The guinea pig , incidentally, comes from South America, and its name probably arose from a confusion between Guinea and Guiana, on the northern coast of South America.
Word origins - 2ed. J. Ayto. 2005.
Look at other dictionaries:
Guinea — Guinea … Deutsch Wörterbuch
Guinea — Guin ea (g[i^]n [ e]), n. 1. A district on the west coast of Africa (formerly noted for its export of gold and slaves) after which the Guinea fowl, Guinea grass, Guinea peach, etc., are named. [1913 Webster] 2. A gold coin of England current for… … The Collaborative International Dictionary of English
guinea — former British coin, 1660s, from Guinea, region along the west coast of Africa, presumably from an African word (perhaps Tuareg aginaw black people ); the 20 shilling coins so called because they were first minted for British trade with Guinea… … Etymology dictionary
Guinea — , Guinea Bissau, Equatorial Guinea They are separate countries, all in West Africa. Guinea was formerly French Guinea. GuineaBissau was formerly Portuguese Guinea. Equatorial Guinea was formerly Spanish Guinea … Bryson’s dictionary for writers and editors
Guinea — Guinea, or Guinea Coast, is a geographical term of Berber origins used by Europeans from the fourteenth to the nineteenth centuries to designate varying sections of the western coast of Africa, a region that formed one apex of the Atlantic… … Encyclopedia of the Age of Imperialism, 1800–1914
Guinea — Ober Guinea und West Sudan … Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon
Guinea  — Guinēa (spr. gi ), Küstenland in Westafrika, vom Kap Roxo bis zum Kap Negro, vom Kap Lopez geteilt in Ober oder Nord G. (G. im engern Sinne) und in Nieder oder Süd G. In der Nordostecke von Ober G. dringt der Golf von G. mit den Baien von Benin… … Kleines Konversations-Lexikon
GUINEA — vulgo la Guinee, regio Aficae perampla, inter Nigrititam ad Bor. et mare Atlanticum ad Austr. et inter regnum Congi ad Ort. et montem Leonis ad Occas. Regio est abundans et fertilis, ab Ort. in Occas. valde extensa, et ab Europaeis admodum… … Hofmann J. Lexicon universale
guinea — [gin′ē] n. [the gold of which it was first made came from Guinea] 1. a former English gold coin, last minted in 1813, equal to 21 shillings: the word is still used in England in giving prices of luxury items 2. GUINEA FOWL 3. Slang an Italian or… … English World dictionary
Guinēa — Guinēa, ein großer Theil der Westseite Afrikas, zu beiden Seiten des Äquator. Gewöhnlich versteht man aber unter G. den Küstenstrich zwischen dem Äquator u. 10° nördl. Br., welcher zum Unterschiede von dem südlich vom Äquator liegenden… … Pierer's Universal-Lexikon
Guinēa — (spr. gi ; hierzu die Karte »Ober Guinea und West Sudân«), Teil der Westküste Afrikas, vom Kap Roxo (12°19´ nördl. Br.) bis Kap Negro (16° südl. Br.), zerfällt in zwei Teile: Oberguinea und Niederguinea, deren Grenze von Kap Lopez im… … Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon