- a bribeThe derivation is from the Mandarin used by beggars, although a normally reliable authority thought otherwise:The expression was originally 'come ashore money', a sailor's tip to the launch's boatman. (Jennings, 1965)I am indebted to Mr John Black, who tells me that his father, when Accountant-General of Hong Kong, was a prime target for cumshaws, which he refused or passed on to worthy recipients as the case might be. The word still means a windfall or something for nothing in British naval slang.
How not to say what you mean: A dictionary of euphemisms. R. W. Holder. 2014.
Look at other dictionaries:
Cumshaw — Cum shaw, v. t. To give or make a present to. [1913 Webster] … The Collaborative International Dictionary of English
Cumshaw — Cum shaw (k?m sha), n. [Chin. kom tsie.] A present or bonus; originally applied to that paid on ships which entered the port of Canton. S. Wells Williams. [1913 Webster] … The Collaborative International Dictionary of English
cumshaw — [kum′shô΄] n. [< dial. form of Chin kan hsieh, grateful thanks] a tip or gratuity … English World dictionary
cumshaw — noun Etymology: Chinese (Xiamen) kam siā grateful thanks Date: 1839 present, gratuity; also bribe, payoff … New Collegiate Dictionary
cumshaw — /kum shaw/, n. a present; gratuity; tip. [1810 20; < dial. Chin (Xiamen) kam sia, equiv. to Chin gân xiè grateful thanks] * * * … Universalium
cumshaw — noun A gratuity or tip as thanks for a service … Wiktionary
cumshaw — (Roget s Thesaurus II) noun A material favor or gift, usually money, given in return for service: gratuity, largess, perquisite, tip3. See GIVE, TRANSACTIONS … English dictionary for students
cumshaw — n. tip, gratuity … English contemporary dictionary
cumshaw — cum·shaw … English syllables
cumshaw — cum•shaw [[t]ˈkʌm ʃɔ[/t]] n. a present; gratuity; tip • Etymology: 1810–20; < dial. Chin (Xiamen) kam siā= Chin gân xiè grateful thanks … From formal English to slang