Borrowed from French dame-jeanne (literally “Lady Jane”), of uncertain origin. Note that the French Jeanne (“Jane, feminine of John”) has changed to the masculine form John, rather than the cognate English Jane.
demijohn (plural demijohns)
- A large bottle with a short neck, sometimes with two small handles at the neck, sometimes encased in wickerwork.
1920, Peter B. Kyne, chapter VIII, in The Understanding Heart:
- “Reckon it's first-drink time,” the old prospector cried cheerily, and unearthed Monica's two-gallon demijohn.
- 1974, Lawrence Durrell, Monsieur, Faber & Faber 1992, p. 234:
- Toby, placing his gold-rimmed spectacles on his nose, set our dinner to simmer and uncorked a demijohn of the old Verfeuille red which glowed in our glasses with the embers of old recollections of half-forgotten journeys and excursions of our youth by the light of the moon.