A gun, so called from its fanciful resemblance to a “betterave”
or jambon. The botanical name of the root is melochia.
“What would you do to me, brigand? ... Give me fifty blows of a
matraque, as your officer gave you last week for stealing his jambon?”
—Ouida: Under Two Flays, chap. xvi.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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