Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A gold coin issued in England from 1663 to 1813 and worth one pound and one shilling.
  • noun The sum of one pound and one shilling.
  • noun Offensive Slang Used as a disparaging term for a person of Italian birth or descent.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun An Italian.
  • noun An English gold coin, of the value of 21 shillings, first issued by Charles II. in 1663, and by his successors till 1813, since which year it has not been coined.
  • noun A money of account, of the value of 21 shillings, still often used in English reckonings.
  • noun A guinea-fowl.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun 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.
  • noun A gold coin of England current for twenty-one shillings sterling, or about five dollars, but not coined since the issue of sovereigns in 1817.
  • noun (Bot.) See Durra.
  • noun (Geog.) a current in the Atlantic Ocean setting southwardly into the Bay of Benin on the coast of Guinea.
  • noun [Obs.] one who cheats by dropping counterfeit guineas.
  • noun (Zoöl.) an African gallinaceous bird, of the genus Numida, allied to the pheasants. The common domesticated species (Numida meleagris), has a colored fleshy horn on each aide of the head, and is of a dark gray color, variegated with small white spots. The crested Guinea fowl (Numida cristata) is a finer species.
  • noun (Bot.) grains of Paradise, or amomum. See Amomum.
  • noun (Bot.) a tall strong forage grass (Panicum jumentorum) introduced. from Africa into the West Indies and Southern United States.
  • noun (Bot.) a liliaceous flower (Fritillaria Meleagris) with petals spotted like the feathers of the Guinea hen.
  • noun See under Peach.
  • noun (Bot.) the pods of the Xylopia aromatica, a tree of the order Anonaceæ, found in tropical West Africa. They are also sold under the name of Piper Æthiopicum.
  • noun (Bot.) the fruit of Parinarium excelsum, a large West African tree of the order Chrysobalaneæ, having a scarcely edible fruit somewhat resembling a plum, which is also called gray plum and rough-skin plum.
  • noun (Zoöl.) a long and slender African nematoid worm (Filaria Medinensis) of a white color. It lives in the cellular tissue of man, beneath the skin, and produces painful sores.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun US, slang, pejorative A person of Italian descent.
  • noun UK A gold coin originally worth twenty shillings and originally made from gold imported from Africa; later (from 1717 until the adoption of decimal currency) standardised at a value of twenty-one shillings.
  • noun A ground-foraging bird of Africa, of the family Numididea. Domesticated strains include Pearl, White, Buff, Blue, Purple and Lavender. Also called guinea fowl.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun (ethnic slur) offensive term for a person of Italian descent
  • noun a republic in western Africa on the Atlantic; formerly a French colony; achieved independence from France in 1958
  • noun a west African bird having dark plumage mottled with white; native to Africa but raised for food in many parts of the world
  • noun a former British gold coin worth 21 shillings

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[After the Guinea, coast of Africa, the source of the gold from which it was first made.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Guinea, the country in West Africa. The name comes from the Berber term "aginaw" via Portuguese; it originally meant "black" (or, in context, "land of the blacks.")

Examples

  • For these reasons, in the 1890s the term guinea, which had been used for slaves from the coast of West Africa, was applied to Italian Americans.

    A Renegade History of the United States

  • It has been forbidden to supply the English ships; but for plenty money it is done sometimes; but the finger must be placed upon the nose, and upon the two eyes what you call the guinea; and in six hours where are they?

    Springhaven

  • It has been forbidden to supply the English ships; but for plenty money it is done sometimes; but the finger must be placed upon the nose, and upon the two eyes what you call the guinea; and in six hours where are they?

    Springhaven : a Tale of the Great War

  • I yesterday had a present of a guinea from a gentleman, a Mr Vaughn, who had read my book, and had desir'd the publisher to send me to his house, I write now to Mr Lofft, and Mr Gedge.

    Letter 30

  • The vaccine virus was also grown in guinea pig fibroblast cells.

    Varicella (Chickenpox) Vaccine

  • Jacobson's recent report concerning the use of reticulocyte reactions in guinea pigs is suggestive of fruitful results.

    George R. Minot - Nobel Lecture

  • As a result of very promising work with experimental tuberculosis in guinea pigs, Feldman and

    Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1952 - Presentation Speech

  • I only mean half a guinea is nothing in comparison to ten guineas, which is the price of the ear-rings; and so that makes me think it's pity the young lady should lose an opportunity of getting them so cheap.

    Camilla: or, A Picture of Youth

  • 'I'll run to them immediately,' cried she, 'for my half guinea is in an agony to be gone!'

    Camilla: or, A Picture of Youth

  • 'What can be done then? my half guinea is gone; and, to confess the truth, I have not another I can well spare!'

    Camilla: or, A Picture of Youth

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