aasvoel, noun

Forms:
α. aars-vogel, aas-vogelShow more aars-vogel, aas-vogel, asphogel, asse vogel, assvogel, astvogel, asvogel;
β. aasvoel, aasvoël.
Origin:
Afrikaans, DutchShow more From Afrikaans aasvoël, earlier Dutch aasvogel (plural -vogelen) aas carrion + voël, vogel bird.
a. Any of several vultures, especially the Cape vulture Gyps coprotheres of the Accipitridae, but occasionally the whitebacked vulture G. africanus. Also attributive, and figurative. See also Cape vulture (Cape sense 2 a).
α.
1834 A. Smith Diary (1939) I. 149Piet Whitefoot had..said that the white men were like crows and aasvogels; that though many were together the approach of one man caused them all to fly.
1838 A. Smith Jrnl (1975) 243A neighbouring chief..had arrived with the Asse vogels (warriors) to beg for meat. [Note] It is customary, we found, to call the warriors Asse vogels, especially when they are begging meat from the king.
1852 H. Ward Jasper Lyle 2Like any demons waiting for their prey, the asphogels, the gigantic vultures of South Africa, keep watch over the bivouac.
1853 F.P. Fleming Kaffraria 70Called by the Hottentots the Astvogel, which answers to the..Sociable Vulture, in plumage and colour.
1878 T.J. Lucas Camp Life & Sport 221The hideous asvogels or common vultures were so gorged that they cared only to tear out the eyes here and there.
1890 A. Martin Home Life 250The aasvogel, a repulsively ugly, bald-headed, bare-necked bird of the..vulture type, is very common in South Africa.
1899 G.H. Russell Under Sjambok 222The men of this country are like the aars-vogel..that feeds upon it.
[1908 Haagner & Ivy Sketches of S. Afr. Bird-Life 1The Aasvogel of the Boers. Birds with an unprepossessing appearance and an evil smell, they are, nevertheless, exceedingly useful in clearing the veld of carrion.]
1913 J.J. Doke Secret City 103If I don’t find her to-morrow,..I’ll shoot you, like an aasvogel that you are!
1925 F.C. Slater Centenary Bk of S. Afr. Verse (1946) 232Aasvogel, Large vulture...Head and upper parts of neck dirty white; back and wings ashy mottled with brown. Scarce now.
1931 G. Beet Grand Old Days 16The aasvogel has the credit of being the most long-sighted bird in the world.
1957 D. Grinnell-Milne Baden-Powell at Mafeking 66Only the haunting notes of the Last Post sounded across the quiet veld, where the scavenging aasvogel picked the bones of dead horses.
1979 E. Drummond Burning Land 100They also heard the desolate cries of the aasvogels as they circled high above a distant spot, waiting to descend on whatever lay breathing its last below them.
β.
1935 H.C. Bosman Mafeking Rd (1969) 21Overhead a lonely aasvoël wheeled, circling slowly round and round without flapping his wings.
1948 A.C. White Call of Bushveld 133Farmers who adopt the abhorrent practice of poisoning wildebeest or zebra carcasses to thin out lions, hyenas and jackals, exterminate a number of aasvoëls at the same time...The latter serve an excellent purpose as scavengers and do little harm.
1968 K. McMagh Dinner of Herbs 27On the distant horizon a pall of dust still hung curtaining the sky while aasvoels flapped their wings and fought over the wealth of carrion.
1976 S. Cloete Chetoko 34I am not a welcome figure. I even know what I am called. Coetzee the aasvoël. It is not easy to be an undertaker.
1985 Style Oct. 55In exile the mind would roam through..the wide wheel of the aasvoel, a witgat tree.
b. With defining words designating various species of aasvoel, as black aasvoel, koning aasvoel /ˈkʊənəŋ -/ [Afrikaans, koning king], swart aasvoel /swart -/ [Afrikaans, swart black], white aasvoel: see quotations.
α.
1839 W.C. Harris Wild Sports 196Vultus Fulvus, and Vultus Auricularis: White and Black Aas-vogel of the Cape Colonists.
[1908 Haagner & Ivy Sketches of S. Afr. Bird-Life 4There is another fairly well-known species, the Black Vulture, called by the Boers the Koning Aasvogel (King Vulture)..which is considerably scarcer than the ordinary Aasvogel.]
[c1808 C. von Linné System of Nat. Hist. VIII. 11The Dutch colonists call this species swarte aas vogel, dark carrion-bird.]
1913 C. Pettman Africanderisms 577Zwart aasvogel,..Otogyps auricularis. See Koning aasvogel.
1839white aasvoel: [see quot. at black aasvoel above].
Any of several vultures, especially the Cape vulture Gyps coprotheres of the Accipitridae, but occasionally the whitebacked vulture G. africanus. Also attributive, and figurative.
see quotations.

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18081985