genus of parasitic plants native to Java and Sumatra, 1820, named for Sir T. Stamford Raffles (1781-1826), British governor of Sumatra, who introduced it to the West, + abstract noun ending -ia. He reports the native name was petimum sikinlili "Devil's betel-box." Raffles as the typical name of a gentleman who engages in burglary or other crime, an educated renegade, is from A.J. Raffles, hero of "The Amateur Cracksman" (1899) and later books by E.W. Hornung.
region at the southern extremity of South America, with -ia + Patagon, name given by Europeans to the Tehuelche people who inhabited the coasts of the region, sometimes said to mean literally "large-foot," from Spanish and Portuguese pata "paw, animal foot" (see patten) in reference to the people's llama-skin shoes. But elsewhere said to be from Patagon, name of a dog-headed monster in the prose romance "Amadís de Gaula" (1508) by Garci Ordóñez de Montalvo (which also might have yielded California). Related: Patagonian.
Eastern European nation, the name taken officially in 1861 at the union of the old lands of Wallachia and Moldavia, from Latin Romani "people from Rome," which was used to describe the descendants of colonists there from Roman times; see Roman + -ia. In late 19c., early 20c. often Rumania, or, from French, Roumania. Related: Romanian; Rumanian; Roumanian. In Middle English, Romanie was "the Roman Empire," from Latin Romania. Romanian in the sense of "of or pertaining to
Gypsies" is by 1841 (see Romany).
Earlier Lemuria was the name of the Roman feast of the Lemures, evil spirits of the dead in Roman mythology. The head of each household ritually exorcised them every 9th, 11th, and 13th of May. Related: Lemurian
poetic name for United States of America, earlier for the British colonies there, 1730s, also the nation's female personification, from name of Christopher Columbus (also see Colombia) with Latin "country" ending -ia.
A popular name for places and institutions in the U.S. in the post-Revolutionary years, when former tributes to king and crown were out of fashion: such as Columbia University (New York, U.S.) founded in 1754 as King's College; re-named 1784. Also District of Columbia (1791, as Territory of Columbia); "Hail, Columbia," Joseph Hopkinson's patriotic song that served in 19c. as an unofficial national anthem (1798); "Columbiad," Joel Barlow's attempt to write an epic for the United States (1807). Columbiad also was the name of a heavy, cast-iron, smooth-bore cannon introduced in the U.S. in 1811. Related: Columbian.
federation comprising the southern end of the Malay peninsula (except Singapore) and the northwestern part of Borneo, from Malay + Latinate ending -ia. Originally an early 19c. British geographers' name for the Indonesian archipelago. Related: Malaysian.