lagniappe

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English[edit]

“We picked up one excellent word – a word worth travelling to New Orleans to get; a nice limber, expressive, handy word – ‘Lagniappe.’ They pronounce it lanny-yap. [] When a child or a servant buys something in a shop – or even the mayor or governor, for aught I know – he finishes the operation by saying, – ‘Give me something for lagniappe.’ The shopman always responds; gives the child a bit of liquorice-root; []”: Mark Twain, Life on the Mississippi (1883)[1]

Etymology[edit]

Borrowing from Louisiana Creole French lagniappe, from Spanish la ñapa, a variant of yapa (a small gift or additional quantity given to a valued customer, a lagniappe), from Quechua yapa (addition, increase, supplement; lagniappe), yapay (addition; sum).

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

lagniappe (plural lagniappes)

  1. (Louisiana, Mississippi, Trinidad and Tobago, uncommon) An extra or unexpected gift or benefit, such as that given to customers when they purchase something.
    • 1852 March, “an ex-Texan”, “South-Western Scenes. [...] No. III.—More Beef than Venison and More Plague than Profit.”, in Democratic Review, volume XXX, number III (CLXV from the start), Washington, D.C.: Langtree and O'Sullivan, OCLC 860698550, page 269, column 1:
      Lefe had been successful, and was supposed to have amassed quite a "pile," which he was very loth indeed to part with; and when he lost, if the money were not absolutely staked, would usually put off the winner with some old horse that he had fixed up for sale, or a dubious note that he had received as "lanyappe," (Anglice, boot money.)
    • [1860, John Russell Bartlett, Dictionary of Americanisms. A Glossary of Words and Phrases usually Regarded as Peculiar to the United States, 3rd greatly imp. and enl. edition, Boston, Mass.: Little, Brown and Company; London: Trübner and Company, OCLC 557199207, page 236:
      Lanyap. Something over and above. Louisiana.]
    • 1870 March, Jeda, “Little Children and Christ’s Coming”, in J. A. Seiss, Richard Newton [et al.], editors, The Prophetic Times. A Monthly Serial of Sacred Literature and Current Events, Touching the Coming and Kingdom of the Lord Jesus and Related Subjects, volume VIII, number 3, Philadelphia, Pa.: Sherman & Co., printers, OCLC 173701973, pages 3–4:
      We have a custom here among children (and one often sought to be made availing by some of larger growth), that when anything is purchased, a Lagnappe (something thrown in), is expected, and demanded as a right. And since "Jesus died and paid it all, / All the debt we owe." [] may not He claim for His Lagnappe, on the resurrection morn, these living gems [children], who wait "to be clothed upon with their house which is from Heaven?"
    • 1883, Mark Twain [pseudonym; Samuel Langhorne Clemens], “City Sights”, in Life on the Mississippi, Boston, Mass.: James R. Osgood and Company, OCLC 557676530, page 450:
      We picked up one excellent word – a word worth travelling to New Orleans to get; a nice limber, expressive, handy word – "Lagniappe." They pronounce it lanny-yap. [] It has a restricted meaning, but I think the people spread it out a little when they choose. It is the equivalent of the thirteenth roll in a "baker's dozen." It is something thrown in, gratis, for good measure. [] When a child or a servant buys something in a shop – or even the mayor or governor, for aught I know – he finishes the operation by saying, – 'Give me something for lagniappe.' The shopman always responds; gives the child a bit of liquorice-root; gives the servant a cheap cigar or a spool of thread, gives the governor – I don't know what he gives the governor; support, likely.
    • 1890, W. Proctor, editor, American Journal of Pharmacy, volume 62, Philadelphia, Pa.: Published by authority of the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy, OCLC 6895969, page 629:
      [T]he most peculiar is the institution known as Lagniappe (pronounced Lan-yap). Lagniappe is something given to the purchaser in a retail store, a bribe to secure his future patronage. It is a custom extending back to time immemorial, []
    • 1892, Harper's Magazine, volume 86, New York, N.Y.: Harper, OCLC 882764447, page 380:
      They have a stranger thing than the lottery in New Orleans, and that is the word "lagniappe." "Take that for a lagniappe" (pronounced lan-yap), says a storekeeper as he folds a pretty calendar into the bundle of stationery you have purchased.
    • 1973, Thomas Pynchon, Gravity's Rainbow, New York, N.Y.: Viking Press, ISBN 978-0-670-00374-7:
      Call it a little lagniappe, goodbuddy, that's Duane Marvy's way o' doin' thangs.
    • 2007, Naoya Fujiwara, “A Clinical History of the Global Malaise”, in The Great Collaboration: A Prescription for a Healthy, Sustainable Future, Lincoln, Neb.: iUniverse, ISBN 978-0-595-43858-7, page 3:
      The US played the deregulation card as a means to keep the rampant Japanese economy in check, and in the 1990s began serving up advantages and lagniappes to Japan's neighborhood rival, China, strategically setting the two Asian powers against each other.
    • 2011, Steven Johnstone, “Haggling”, in A History of Trust in Ancient Greece, Chicago, Ill.; London: University of Chicago Press, ISBN 978-0-226-40509-4, page 23:
      The seller resorts to a common saying to justify his position, while the buyer had to counter this with some arch words of his own. How buyers and sellers negotiated over a lagniappe—an extra tidbit or bonus—reveals the precarious nature of trust in such relationships. Millett [] focuses on merchants extending credit, but offering a lagniappe could do the same thing, []

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References[edit]

  1. ^ Mark Twain [pseudonym; Samuel Langhorne Clemens] (1883), “City Sights”, in Life on the Mississippi, Boston, Mass.: James R. Osgood and Company, OCLC 557676530, page 450; the illustration is from page 453.

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