ai-ai, noun

Forms:
Also aai-aai, and with initial capitals.
Origin:
Xhosa, Zulu, EnglishShow more Etymology unknown; perhaps from Xhosa hayi, Zulu hhayi ‘no’; or from English A.A. initial letters of absolute alcohol.
slang
In urban (especially township) English: either methylated spirits or absolute alcohol, when taken as a drink or used for lacing drinks. See also blue train sense 2.
1969 Post 16 Feb.A nip of ‘Ai-Ai’ sells in Soweto shebeens for 25 cents normally and some queens have been offloading it at 15 cents...Soweto police uncovered the secret of the killer drink known in the townships as ‘Ai-Ai’, alias ‘The Aeroplane’ or ‘Mpala Mpala’ — that has claimed 14 lives in recent weeks. Confiscated liquor — taken in a raid near Baragwanath — was..identified..as ‘absolute alcohol’.
1985 K. Ngwenya in Drum July 76We do not see those people dressed in tatters and drinking mbamba and aai-aai (methylated spirits) as human beings who have characters, emotions and loved ones.
either methylated spirits or absolute alcohol, when taken as a drink or used for lacing drinks.

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19691985