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.”