Ingot - Encyclopedia

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INGOT, originally a mould for the casting of metals, but now a mass of metal cast in a mould, and particularly the small bars of the precious metals, cast in the shape of an oblong brick or wedge with slightly sloping sides, in which form gold and silver are handled as bullion at the Bank of England and the Mint. Ingots of varying sizes and shapes are cast of other metals, and "ingot-steel" and "ingot-iron" are technical terms in the manufacture of iron and steel (see IRON AND STEEL). The word is obscure in origin. It occurs in Chaucer ("The Canon's Yeoman's Tale") as a term of alchemy, in the original sense of a mould for casting metal, and, as the New English Dictionary points out, an English origin for such a term is unlikely. It may, however, be derived from in and the O. Eng. geotan to pour; cf. Ger. giessen and Einguss, a mould. The Fr. lingo!, with the second English meaning only, has been taken as the origin of "ingot" and derived from the Lat. lingua, tongue - with a supposed reference to the shape. This derivation is wrong, and French etymologists have now accepted the English origin for the word, lingo! having coalesced from l'ingot.

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