Where does the word “Martingale” come from and What does Martingale mean?

Whether part of a harness, part of the rigging of a ship, or a gambling term, the name martingale is supposed to be connected, in some peculiar manner, with a type of stinginess characteristic of the inhabitants of the town of Martigues in Provence, France.

At least such is the deduction that one draws from the sixteenth-century writer Rabelais.

Chausses a la martingale, according to him, were hose or breeches fastened at the back in the custom of Martigues.

We should add, perhaps, that some authorities prefer to say, “Source uncertain.”

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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