Jaunting-Car - Encyclopedia


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JAUNTING-CAR, a light two-wheeled carriage for a single horse, in its commonest form with seats for four persons placed back to back, with the foot-boards projecting over the wheels. It is the typical conveyance for persons in Ireland (see CAR). The first part of the word is generally taken to be identical with the verb "to jaunt," now only used in the sense of to go on a short pleasure excursion, but in its earliest uses meaning to make a horse caracole or prance, hence to jolt or bump up and down. It would apparently be a variant of "jaunce," of the same meaning, which is supposed to be taken from O. Fr. jancer. Skeat takes the origin of jaunt and jaunce to be Scandinavian, and connects them with the Swedish dialect word ganta, to romp; and he finds cognate bases in such words as "jump," "high jinks." The word "jaunty," sprightly, especially used of anything done with an easy nonchalant air, is a corruption of "janty," due to confusion with "jaunt." "Janty," often spelt in the 17th and 18th centuries "jante" or "jantee," represents the English pronunciation of Fr. gentil, well-bred, neat, spruce.

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