Jumbo
   Some animals have given their names to synonyms that are just as descriptive as words derived from an eponyrn. One that comes to mind quickly, and one that is used frequently, is Jumbo. It is, in the words of P. T. Barnum, who introduced the elephant bearing this name, "the universal synonym for stupendous things."
   Barnum was a showman who didn't hesitate to exaggerate if it helped his business. Jumbo had been captured by a hunting party in Africa in 1869. The natives were amazed at its tremendous size and therefore dubbed the animal jumbo, which in Swahili means "chief." The beast weighed six and a half tons and stood ten feet, nine inches at the shoulders. Jumbo lived at the London Zoo for seventeen years. His daily rations consisted of 200 pounds of hay, five pails of water, and a quart of whiskey.
   In 1882 Jumbo had a change of residence. The London Zoo was experiencing financial problems, and to ease the burden, the zoo sold Jumbo to Phineas Taylor Barnum (1810-1891). The English public was incensed, and even Queen Victoria added her voice in an effort to retain this "national treasure." But Barnum won out and brought Jumbo to the United States. The transport took fifteen days, and Jumbo survived aboard the ship by drinking enormous quantities of beer. On Jumbo's arrival in America, Barnum proceeded in his modest style to inform Americans how fortunate they were to have Jumbo on their land. His advertisement read: Jumbo the Only Mastondon on Earth . . . The Gentle and Historic Lord of Beasts . . . The Towering Monarch of his Mighty Race . . . The Prodigious Pet of both England and America . . . Steadily Growing in Tremendous Height and Weight . . . Jumbo, the Universal Synonym for Stupendous things. . . .
   Jumbo was a star attraction, and his name did become a household word for anything of large size, such as a "jumbo package," or the oversized jets, such as the Boeing 747 and the DC 10. In 1885 Jumbo was accidentally struck down and killed by a railway engine in an Ontario railroad yard. It is said that Barnum wept, but whether because he had lost a moneymaking resource or because of sentiment, we'll never know. But we do know that many Americans wept for the loss of an animal they loved.

Dictionary of eponyms. . 2013.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • jumbo — jumbo …   Dictionnaire des rimes

  • Jumbo — The Elephant (1861 September 15, 1885) was a very large African bush elephant, born 1861 in French Sudan, imported to a Paris zoo, transferred to the London Zoo in 1865, and sold in 1882 to P. T. Barnum, for the circus. The giant elephant s name… …   Wikipedia

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  • jumbo — jum‧bo [ˈdʒʌmbəʊ ǁ boʊ] adjective [only before a noun] larger than the usual size: • Jumbo loans carry higher interest rates than smaller loans. * * * Ⅰ. jumbo UK US /ˈdʒʌmbəʊ/ adjective [only before noun] ► much larger than the usual size: »a… …   Financial and business terms

  • Jumbo — er den mest berømte elefant gennem tiderne og har givet navn til begrebet jumbojet. Jumbo var en afrikansk elefant, født i Fransk Sudan omkring 1861. Jumbo blev importeret til Frankrig og holdt i den zoologiske have Jardin des Plantes nær Gare de …   Danske encyklopædi

  • jumbo — ● jumbo nom masculin (américain jumbo, surnom de l éléphant) Chariot à portique supportant des perforatrices et servant au forage des trous de mine pour l abattage des roches ou au forage des trous de boulonnage pour le soutènement. ⇒JUMBO, subst …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • jumbo — (adj.) very large, unusually large for its type, 1882, a reference to Jumbo, name of the London Zoo s huge elephant (acquired from France, said to have been captured as a baby in Abyssinia in 1861), sold February 1882 to U.S. circus showman P.T.… …   Etymology dictionary

  • Jumbo — puede referirse a: Jumbo el famoso elefante del circo de Ringling Brothers and Barnum Bailey; La cadena de supermercados chilena Jumbo; Al grupo mexicano de rock en español, Jumbo; La aeronave Boeing 747. Esta página de desambiguación cataloga ar …   Wikipedia Español

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  • jumbo — informal ► NOUN (pl. jumbos) 1) a very large person or thing. 2) a jumbo jet. ► ADJECTIVE ▪ very large. ORIGIN probably the second element of MUMBO JUMBO(Cf. ↑mumbo jumbo) …   English terms dictionary

  • jumbo — o jumbo jet /dʒumboˈdʒɛt, dʒamboˈdʒɛt, ingl. ˈdʒʌmbəud jɛt/ [dal nome Jumbo dato a un elefante portato a Londra da Barnum] s. m. inv. boeing (ingl.) …   Sinonimi e Contrari. Terza edizione

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