American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. A tip; a gratuity.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A present of any kind; a gift or douceur; bakshish.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. A present or bonus; -- originally applied to that paid on ships which entered the port of Canton.
- v. To give or make a present to.
- From Min Nan (Hokkien) 感謝 (kám-siā, "thanks"). (Wiktionary)
- Pidgin English, from Chinese (Amoy) gamsia, an expression of thanks. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“Even then he had the impudence to ask me for a "cumshaw" (tip), and in order that he might not lose face among the little crowd which had collected at the outer gateway, he only laughed as he rubbed his head and listened to a tremendous dressing-down delivered by the three of us.”
“The good doctor is in it strictly for the old cumshaw.”
“Two centuries of survival had taught him that a bribe must be offered as gently and as indirectly as a gallant suggestion is made to a proud lady; in a very few minutes he came to the glum conclusion that civic virtue and public honesty could be run into the ground-the functionaries at Goddard Field seemed utterly innocent of the very notion of cumshaw, squeeze, or the lubricating effect of money in routine transactions.”
“The concessionaires pay their fare and squeeze whatever cumshaw they can out of the women themselves and the miners or ranchers to whom their contracts are assigned.”
“In very many cases they do not even know how to mount, but finding ponies so cheap, or, better still, getting a discarded racer as a cumshaw, they take to riding as naturally as if to the manner born, so that there are but few residents of either sex who cannot ride, and China ponies consequently hold a place in the estimation of foreigners which is altogether denied them by the natives.”
“This the mafoo does with great pleasure, as, apart from the keen interest he takes in racing -- all Chinese being inveterate gamblers -- it is an understood thing that he will receive a good cumshaw from his master for each race that his stable wins.”
“You wanchee cumshaw?" she asked, handing the furs to the Chinaman to be wrapped.”
“Present for Missy; cumshaw," says the pleasant voice, and what can you do?”
“Amelican lady you say down-stair, she buy heap pearls, so I bring Missy cumshaw.”
“I never heard her ask for any cumshaw that weighed less than a ton and which required fewer than a dozen enlisted men and two trucks to move.”
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