Word of the Day Archive
Monday April 9, 2012
A present; gratuity; tip.
Many had nothing to give, but the younger wives always brought a modest cumshaw—a gift—for whatever mysterious service Dr. Ransome provided.
-- J.G. Ballard, Empire of the Sun
No one in the filthy streets (but for the blessed sea breezes San Francisco would enjoy cholera every season) interfered with my movements, though many asked for cumshaw.
-- Rudyard Kipling, From Sea to Sea
You know, cumshaw is not really understood by Westerners. It is not a bribe in the Western sense. More accurately, it is like a tip that is given in advance.
-- David Desauld, Twilight in Tientsin
Cumshaw stems from the Chinese word gân xiè meaning "grateful thanks."