DSAE test file

ayah, noun

Forms:
aia, aiyaShow more Also aia, aiya, aja, aya, and with initial capital.
Origin:
Indian English, PortugueseShow more Indian English, from Portuguese aia nurse (feminine of aio tutor).
obsolescent
Note:
Also Indian English. Offensive to some.
1. A child’s nurse, usually a coloured or black woman; a term of respect for an elderly ‘coloured’ woman.
1806 J. Barrow Trav. II. 102The poor children scramble as well as they can among the slaves..each, in the better sort of families, having its proper slave, called its aya, a Malay term, borrowed, perhaps, from the Portuguese or Italian, signifying nurse or protectress.
1975 Argus 17 Sept. 28Mrs le Roux also recalls how her aia (nursemaid) brewed a wonderful gharra beer from the clusters of tiny berries of the gharrabos.
2. A title or term of address, sometimes used in conjunction with the woman’s first name.
1888 A. Brigg Sunny Fountains & Golden Sands 105We generally called her ‘old Ayah,’ a title she herself preferred, not only as one of some honour amongst the people, but as describing the character in which she liked to be known, that of a professional nurse.
1981 F. Malherbe in V.A. February Mind your Colour 35The Coloured labourer, the farm-hand, has hitherto enjoyed the greatest attention in our literature...The relationship, ‘baas-boy’, with its ‘Ja, Baas’, and ‘Nee Baas’..should not necessarily be interpreted as denigrating — this also applies to the terms ‘outa’ and ‘aia’, the earlier forms of respect.
A child’s nurse, usually a coloured or black woman; a term of respect for an elderly ‘coloured’ woman.
A title or term of address, sometimes used in conjunction with the woman’s first name.

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18061981