berg, noun

unchanged, berge /ˈbɛrɡə/, or bergs.
a. A mountain or mountain range. Also attributive.
1823 W.W. Bird State of Cape of G.H. 99Others send them over the berg, or mountains.
1841 B. Shaw Memorials 27To Cape Town school — o’er bergs and knowes, They sent the tawney-coloured boy.
1865 T. Leask S. Afr. Diary (1954) 2The wind was blowing down the berg, almost cutting us thro’.
1882 Lady F.C. Dixie In Land of Misfortune 251A winding pass, high up on the Berg,..was the only means of passage from this side of the Drakensberg to the other.
1899 B. Mitford Weird of Deadly Hollow 244Another day I was out on the berg with the goats..when I saw a huge tiger.
1902 C.R. De Wet Three Yrs War 24As there was no water to be obtained nearer than a mile from the berg, we suffered greatly from thirst.
1911 L. Cohen Reminisc. of Kimberley 304Around it soar beautiful inviting bergs of diversified colour, fine mountains touching the skies.
1929 D. Reitz Commando 122The British appeared above the berg an hour or two later.
1936 E. Rosenthal Old-Time Survivals 24The carried out in patriarchal style, the farmer accompanying his black herdboys over the ‘berge’ or mountains, camping by night on the wayside with his flocks.
1949 L.G. Green In Land of Afternoon 21A krantz is not merely a cliff, but a steep, rocky place near the summit of a berg.
1963 S. Cloete Rags of Glory 344When dawn broke later over the dark mass of the berg, the Boers found themselves under fire from which there was no protection.
1989 B. Godbold Autobiography. 127I longed to go up into the wall of the main berg, but the horses deserved the two days rest.
b. combinations
i. In the names of mountain peoples: see Berg Damara. See also Bergenaar, bergie sense 2. ii. In the names of fauna and flora usually of mountain origin, or displaying a preference for a mountain habitat:
berg adder /-ædə/ [Dutch, adder adder], the venomous snake Bitis atropos of the Viperidae; also attributive; cf. berg slang;
berg-aster, the shrub Lachnaea filamentosa of the Thymelaeaceae;
bergbaroe /-bəruː/ [Afrikaans, baroe see baroe], any of several species of the plant Cyphia of the Lobeliaceae, especially C. assimilis, C. bulbosa, and C. volubilis, distinguished from other varieties of Cyphia by an inedible tuber; see also baroe;
bergbas /-bas/, formerly also bergbast, [Afrikaans, bas bark (earlier South African Dutch bast)], the bark of the trees Colpoon compressum and Osyris lanceolata of the Santalaceae, used in tanning leather; one of these trees; also attributive;
berg canary, also berg-canarie, obsolete [partial translation of South African Dutch bergcanarie], any of several species of canary of the Fringillidae, especially the black-throated canary Serinus atrogularis, and the black-headed canary S. alario (blackhead sense 1 b); bergie sense 1; also called sysie (sense a);
berg cypress, the mountain cypress (see mountain), Widdringtonia nodiflora;
berggans /-xans/, plural bergganse /-xansə/ [Afrikaans, gans goose], the Egyptian goose Alopochen aegyptiacus of the Anatidae; mountain goose, see mountain;
berggansie /-xansi/ [Afrikaans, berggans + diminutive suffix -ie; see quotation 1966], an aromatic Karoo bush of the genus Pentzia (family Asteraceae); see also Karoo bush (Karoo sense 2);
berghaas obsolete [South African Dutch, haas hare], the springhaas, Pedetes capensis;
bergklapper /-klapə(r)/ [from Dutch klappen to rattle, clap] (a) the plant Tetraria secans of the Cyperaceae; (b) the plant Montinia caryophyllacea of the Montiniaceae;
berg leguaan, see leguaan;
||berglelie /-lɪəli/ [Afrikaans, lelie lily], the Knysna lily (sense b), Cyrtanthus purpureus;
berg lily, any of several species of bulbous plants bearing lily-like flowers and growing on mountain slopes, especially Galtonia candicans of the Liliaceae; Cape hyacinth, see Cape sense 2 a;
bergpruim /-prœɪm/ [Afrikaans, pruim plum], the shrub Ochna pretoriensis of the Ochnaceae;
berg roos /-ruəs/ [Afrikaans, roos rose], the shrub Protea nana of the Proteaceae;
||bergskilpad /-ˌskəlpat/ [Afrikaans, skilpad (earlier Dutch schildpad) tortoise], the tortoise Geochelone pardalis of the Testudinidae; cf. skilpad;
||berg slang /-ˈslaŋ/ [Afrikaans (from Dutch) slang snake], see quotation; cf. berg adder;
berg sprew obsolete [see sprew], see quotation;
berg swallow, berg zwaluw obsolete [South African Dutch, zwaluw swallow], the European bee-eater Merops apiaster of the Meropidae;
berg sysie, see dik-bek sysie (sysie sense b);
berg tea, also berg thee /-tiə/ [Dutch, thee tea], any of several plants used as a substitute for tea, or for medicinal purposes; see also bush tea;
berg-tiger obsolete, the tiger (sense 1), Panthera pardus;
berg wolf obsolete [Afrikaans, wolf hyaena], the spotted hyaena, Crocuta crocuta of the Hyaenidae.
1818 C.I. Latrobe Jrnl of Visit (1905) 89A wood-keeper..had lately lost his life by the bite of a Berg-adder.
1821 G. Barker Journal. 22 Sept.Rode to Salem to day..killed a Berg adder (mountain adder) near Salem.
1834 T. Pringle Afr. Sketches 279The berg-adder, though much smaller in generally considered not less deadly, and it is the more dangerous from its being less easily discovered and avoided.
c1911 S. Playne Cape Col. 77Beware of the Berg adder...A beautiful creature he may be, but he is one to be avoided, as his bite is commonly fatal.
1937 Guide to Vertebrate Fauna of E. Cape Prov. (Albany Museum) II. 76Berg-Adder,..similar to puff-adder in form, but smaller and with different markings.
1950 W. Rose Reptiles & Amphibians 306Less frequently seen is the Berg Adder..a smaller Viper, which may be found on the levels as well as on the mountains...A very irascible snake.
1964 L.G. Green Old Men Say 167Although there are twenty-five species of snakes in the Peninsula, only the Cape yellow cobra, the rinkals, puff adder, berg adder, and the back-fanged boomslang and skaapsteker are deadly.
1971 Rand Daily Mail 12 Jan. 1The Hartebeespoort snake expert..said there was no satisfactory serum for berg adder bites.
1988 Cape Times 4 Nov. 1President P W Botha’s in the intensive-care unit of 2 Military Hospital, Wynberg, after being bitten by a berg adder.
1970 Std Encycl. of Sn Afr. II. 280Berg-aster (Lachnaea filamentosa), Low shrub of the family Thymelaeaceae with branches covered by overlapping leaves.
1910 S. Afr. Jrnl of Science VI. 98The plant which is locally known as ‘bergbarroe,’ is not edible, while the tubers of three other species of Fockea, called ‘Kambarroe,’ are eaten raw by the natives or turned into preserves by the rural housewife.
1917 R. Marloth Dict. of Common Names of Plants 9Berg [barroe], F. capensis, (Prince Albert district) is very large but not edible.
1982 A. Moriarty Outeniqua Tsitsikamma 172Cyphia volubilis, Aardboontjie, Bergbaroe. A slender plant which twines through grasses and shrubs. It has a tuberous rootstock and snowy white or pinkish-mauve flowers.
1892 W.L. Distant Naturalist in Tvl 43The best and strongest tanning-material in the Transvaal appears to be the leaf of a tree (Colpoon compressum), called by the Boers ‘Berg bas’. We obtained our largest supplies — on the hills of the Waterberg district.
1908 J.M. Orpen Reminisc. 13Tanning liquor..we used to make, by soaking, the bruised leaves and bark of a bush called ‘bergbast’.
1957 Handbk for Farmers (Dept of Agric.) I. 339Tanning by means of Bark and ‘Bergbas’...The ‘bergbas’ tree is chopped off — stem, leaves and all. Use a barrel..cover the bottom with the leaves...‘Bergbas’ gives a light yellowish colour to the leather, while mimosa bark gives a dark reddish colour.
1966 C.A. Smith Common Names 86Bergbas, The bark (Afr.: bas) obtained from Osyris abyssinica...Common on the Magaliesberg and its spurs.
1983 K.C. Palgrave Trees of Sn Afr. 156Santalaceae (The sandalwood and bergbas family).
1861 A Lady Life at Cape (1963) 28The Pietje and the Berg canary are not unlike London sparrows in plumage, but they sing with great vigour, and are capital birds to put together in a large cage especially if you have a good English canary to conduct the orchestra.
1867 E.L. Layard Birds of S. Afr. 200Amadina Alario...Berg-canarie of Colonists, lit. Mountain Canary.
1905 Westminster Gaz. (U.K.) 9 Oct. 10Patches of berg cypress..afford splendid cover for that magnificent antelope the eland.
1913 C. Pettman Africanderisms 56Berg cypress, Widdringtonia cupressoides. A shrub growing on the mountains from Cape Town to Natal.
1966 C.A. Smith Common Names 88Berg cypress, Widdringtonia cupressoides (Cape).
1889 H.A. Bryden Kloof & Karroo 93The big berg gans (mountain goose) (Chenalopex ægyptiacus),..a magnificent fellow, whose harsh noisy ‘honk’ warns us of his whereabouts.
1931 R.C. Bolster Land & Sea Birds 181The Berg Gans, so-called because he sometimes nests among rocks, is a true goose in that he is essentially a land-feeder, his diet being grass, and a good walker.
1949 L.G. Green In Land of Afternoon 176Then a green slope going down to a vlei; and a berggans coming up to look at the hunters and leading all the wild duck away.
1933 Farming in S. Afr. Nov. 435 (Swart)Berg-gansie (Pentzia sphaerocephala) is excellent, especially in somewhat hilly country.
1966 C.A. Smith Common Names 88Berggansie, Pentzia punctata...The shortly stalked aromatic discoid heads of some allied species are said to be a favourite food of geese.
1796 C.R. Hopson tr. of C.P. Thunberg’s Trav. II. 182In the mountains..resides a kind of jumping rat (Jerboa Capensis) which the farmers considered as a species of hare, and called it Berghaas or Springhaas.
1806 J. Barrow Trav. I. 26We saw here..a quadruped called the Berghaas or mountain hare.
1913 C. Pettman Africanderisms 57Berg-klapper,..Montinia acris is known by this name because of the rattling noise which the seeds make in the dry capsule.
1966 C.A. Smith Common Names 90Bergklapper, Teraria secans...When the large spikes are pressed between the fingers a snapping report (Afk. klap) is produced.
1917 R. Marloth Dict. of Common Names of Plants 10Berglelie, Vallota purpurea. Frequent on the Outeniqua mts., generally known as Knysna lily.
1934 C.P. Swart Supplement to Pettman. 11Berglelie,..So called by the Dutch farmer as it grows in mountainous regions. The bulbs of the plant are very poisonous, causing severe gastro-intestinal disturbance in animals.
1966 C.A. Smith Common Names 90Berglelie,..With large, showy and ornamental umbels of lily-like flowers, frequenting kloofs or the open slopes of hills.
1961 Redwing (St Andrew’s College, Grahamstown) 3In the marsh occasional clump of stately berg lilies or white galtonias.
c1968 S. Candy Natal Coast Gardening 73Berg Lily...A Drakensberg lily which must have a dormant season. The ‘bells’ are only an inch long, and hang in tall, widely-spaced spikes.
1971 Reader’s Digest Complete Guide to Gardening II. 394Berg lily...This species bears erect racemes of drooping, bell-like, green-tinged, white flowers in late summer.
1973 E. Prov. Herald 18 July 22Until last summer I had never consciously seen Galtonia candicans (Berg Lily).
1967 E. Rosenthal Encycl. of Sn Afr. 55Bergpruim,..Shrub or tree up to 20 feet. Wood hard, handsome.
[a1823berg roos: J. Ewart Jrnl (1970) 71A plant rising to the height of six or seven feet, called the mountain rose, from the resemblance its leaves bear to those of the rose bush.]
1913 C. Pettman Africanderisms 57Berg roos,..Protea nana vel rosacea is so named in the Cape Peninsula.
1911 The State Dec. 642 (Pettman)See what Outa caught for the baasjes near the Klip Kop this afternoon, a nice little berg schilpad.
1844 J. Backhouse Narr. of Visit 167A boy died here a few days ago, in consequence of the bite of a small species of Viper, Vipera inornata called in the colony, Berg Slang, Mountain Snake.
c1808 C. von Linné System of Nat. Hist. VIII. 358At the Cape, they call this bird berg-sprew, mountain starling; or rooge-vlerk sprew, red-winged starling.
1822 W.J. Burchell Trav. (1953) I. 259One was a Bee-eater, known commonly by the name of Berg Zwaluw (Mountain Swallow), which scarcely differed from the European species.
1887 A.A. Anderson 25 Yrs in Waggon II. 213That beautiful bird the berg swallow, the size of a dove, with a brilliant golden copper-colour plumage on the back, and light salmon colour and sky-blue breast.
c1860 L. Pappe Florae Capensis I. 257 (Pettman)This is the Berg thee of the colonists.
1913 C. Pettman Africanderisms 57Berg thee,..(1) Geranium incanium. (2) Riversdale District, Cyclopia Vogelii, Harv.
1982 Fox & Norwood Young Food from Veld 47Plants from which infusions of the leaves are prepared include the following: Aspalathus spp. e.g. A. linearis — Rooibos: Athrixia spp.;..Dicoma anomala; Geranium incanum — berg tea.
1834 T. Pringle Afr. Sketches 263The berg-tiger has not, so far as I know, been distinctly classed by naturalists.
1911 D.B. Hook ’Tis but Yesterday 53They were real ‘berg-tigers,’ the finest we have in South Africa, full grown, and very well fed.
1844 J. Backhouse Narr. of Visit 102The Wolf of the Cape country is the Hyena, of which two species are found in the Colony: Hyena crocuta, the spotted hyena, sometimes called Berg Wolf, Mountain Wolf,..and Hyena villosa, the Straand Wolf.
iii. In place names: see quotations.
1849 N.J. Merriman Cape Jrnls (1957) 52On Sunday I..administered the Holy Communion to about 7 persons in the little school room, just below the Didima berg.
1914 C. Pettman Notes on S. Afr. Place Names 16Roodehoogte, Rooiberg, Wittebergen,..Blauwberg,..Sneeuwberg..are all of them names that tell us something of the impressions made by the places or natural features so named upon those who first gave the names.
1971 Std Encycl. of Sn Afr. III. 318Colesberg was founded in 1830...It lies some distance away from the mountain called Torenberg (‘tower mountain’).
1989 P.E. Raper Dict. of Sn Afr. Place Names 557Underberg,..The name is descriptive of its position under (at the foot of) the Hlogoma or Hlokoma, a peak.
1991 [see bush n.1 sense 2 a].
2. The Berg, occasionally also with small initial: The Drakensberg mountain range, especially those areas which are in KwaZulu-Natal. Also attributive.
1851 J.F. Churchill Diary. (Killie Campbell Africana Library MS37) 7 MaySupplied a Trader with some articles who was going over the Berg.
1862 J.S. Dobie S. Afr. Jrnl (1945) 31On starting again rode to the highest point of the range and had a view of ‘The Berg’ (Drakensberg).
1882 C.L. Norris-Newman With Boers in Tvl 39He then travelled over the Berg to Natal.
1897 J.P. Fitzpatrick Outspan 51Among the transport-riders the condition of the Berg — as the spurs of the long Drakensberg range of mountains are called colloquially — is always a fruitful topic of conversation.
1912 W. Westrup Land of To-Morrow 48An exceedingly prosperous farmer of advanced ideas who had a magnificent place close under the berg in Natal.
1926 M. Nathan S. Afr. from Within 197The longest river is the Orange, which takes its rise in the Drakensberg or Quathlamba range (generally known as the ‘Berg’).
1937 H. Sauer Ex Afr. 59On account of the difficulty of crossing the Berg by ox-wagon and of the tsetse-fly in the low country, we decided to leave the wagon and team at Mac Mac.
1944 J. Mockford Here Are S. Africans 71The total number of wagons that crossed the Berg during the Great Trek is estimated at more than one thousand.
1951 O. Walker Shapeless Flame 215Down in Port Natal the Dragon Mountains were known as the ‘Berg’ and when a rare wind blew in winter, that had a knife edge on it, people looked wise and said there was snow on the Berg.
1970 Daily News 9 MayNearer the Drakensberg the veld was invisible under a thick mantle of snow, while the ’Berg itself and its foot-hills have been transformed into a winter wonderland.
1973 J. Cowden For Love 26As do most people born in Natal, I regard the ‘Berg’ as my personal heritage. The great Mountains of the Dragon curl in ancient silence round ‘The Garden Province’ that rolls from the Indian Ocean.
1986 Sunday Star 9 Nov. (Travel) 1An overnight stay with all meals — and these are invariable multi-course affairs — at a first-class ‘Berg’ hotel costs around R50.
1990 Motorist 2nd Quarter 4They’ll be spending days traversing the ‘berg’ and spending nights in the hut in the vicinity of Mont-aux-Sources.
A mountain or mountain range. Also attributive.
see Berg Damara.
the plant Tetraria secans of the Cyperaceae;
the plant Montinia caryophyllacea of the Montiniaceae;
see quotations.
The Drakensberg mountain range, especially those areas which are in KwaZulu-Natal. Also attributive.