barber, noun

Also baba, barba.
South African DutchShow more Adaptation of South African Dutch baber barbel.
Any of several marine and freshwater fishes. 1. Freshwater: a. The Clanwilliam yellowfish (see yellowfish sense b), Barbus capensis. b. The airbreathing catfish Clarias gariepinus of the Clariidae; also called barbel (sense 3). 2. Marine: barbel sense 2.
1848 H.H. Methuen Life in Wilderness 67 (Pettman)A few fish called barbers, of a long and eel-like sort, with whiskers or feelers, were caught in the river.
1873 F. Boyle To Cape for Diamonds 207Here I first learned to eat the barba, a prodigy of fishes, and to love it. Do you know the bull-head, the miller’s thumb, we used to catch at home?..Fancy this ugly beast of any size between a half-pound and two hundred-weight; give it great teeth more cutting than a pike’s; adorn its big mouth with four long beards, and you will have the barba.
1876 F. Boyle Savage Life 285My sleepy friend declined with emphasis to help. He said a barba was a something cross between a toad, a sand-eel, and a pug dog; and he wouldn’t stir for one of the three, nor for the lot combined.
1889 A Housewife of the Colony Col. Hsehold Guide 32The Baba. In some parts of the colony this fish, almost without bones, during some seasons of the year is caught in the muddy banks of the rivers. Its flavour resembles that of an eel, being very rich.
1892 Nicolls & Eglington Sportsman in S. Afr. 135The Cat Fish, (Clarias capensis) — Barbel or Barber of the Cape Colonists...The ‘Barber’ is the commonest of the South African freshwater fish, and may be found in almost every river and dam throughout the country.
1913 C. Pettman Africanderisms 47Barber,..A large fresh-water fish, considered by some to be good eating. In appearance it is by no means prepossessing, the long fleshy filaments which hang from the corners of its mouth giving it a rather repelling appearance.
1929 J. Stevenson-Hamilton Low-Veld 126Some of the bottom feeders find a secure winter refuge immersed in the mud...It is possible to secure, by digging, numbers of perfectly healthy specimens, usually of the catfish tribe, commonly known as barbers.
1945 H. Gerber Fish Fare 72Barbel or barber, This very ugly fish, with its hideous ‘moustache’ has no scales. It is found in the Orange River. It is similar to the freshwater catfish of the southern United States.
1989 E. Bursik in Ski-Boat Jan.Feb. 21The comp[etition]..was structured to force anglers to catch as many of the dozens of available species as possible — bream (‘drie kol’), barbers, squeakers and many others.
The Clanwilliam yellowfishyellowfishb, Barbus capensis.
The airbreathing catfish Clarias gariepinus of the Clariidae; also called barbel (sense 3).

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