bioscope, noun

Forms:
Also baaiscope.
Origin:
English, Greek, South African English, AfrikaansShow more Obsolete English, cinema projector, from Greek bios life + skopein to look at; the continued use of the word in South African English was no doubt reinforced by Afrikaans bioskoop movies, cinema.
1. obsolescent
a. A motion-picture film; bio. Also attributive. Cf. fliek.
[1898 The Jrnl 19 Mar. 2Albany Hall. To-Night (Saturday), And following Nights. James’s Bioscope and micro-Phonograph Entertainment.]
1902 Star 1 JuneThe bioscope entertainment to be given on Saturday next..promises to be bright and enjoyable.
1916 L.D. Flemming Fool on Veld (1933) 92His face, very naturally, went ashy white — a sort of whiteness you meet in bioscopes, or in William Le Queux’s novels.
1920 S.C. Cronwright-Schreiner Letter. 15 Aug.The building is large, with a big dining room & a free ‘kinema’ (bioscope) running all day.
1965 C. Van Heyningen Orange Days 14With an eyebrow cocked up interrogatively, like a comedian’s on the bioscope.
1965 J. Bennett Hawk Alone 106That night he took her to a very bad cinema show (in South Africa they called them bioscopes then, and still do: it is only by the more sophisticated people that they are called the movies, or the flicks).
1979 Sunday Times 8 July 3They could get out on Friday night to the church coffee bar..and see religious bioscopes.
1989 B. Godbold Autobiography. 48The first bioscope (the word ‘cinema’ came into use much later) was shown in the same hall.
1990 D. Beckett in Frontline Mar.Apr. 12The German is a technician on holiday, with a bioscope accent.
b. A cinema, or motion-picture house; bio. See also bughouse. Also attributive.
Note:
Often used without an article (see quotations 1974, 1986, 1989).
1905 Rand Daily Mail 1 Mar. 6Rees’ Popular Bioscope. Hundreds turned away on Saturday night.
1915 Cape 8 Oct. 19They extended to her facetious invitations to the theatre and the bioscope.
1929 J.G. Van Alphen Jan Venter 171All these ladies might very well have stepped out of some such garden-party as he had seen depicted in illustrated papers, or at the bioscope.
1939 J.G. Chalmers in Outspan 13 Oct. 71The boy who lives in this age of wireless and bioscopes presents the same difficulty and demands the same just treatment as he who appears to have been less favoured in past days.
1943 J. Burger Black Man’s Burden 91In the largest urban locations there are recreation grounds, a cinema (still called ‘bioscope’ in South Africa), social centres, and clubs.
1950 H. Gibbs Twilight in S. Afr. 155No bioscope opens on Sundays.
1951 L.G. Green Grow Lovely 151The bioscope became a regular part of Cape Town’s life in 1903, when the Tivoli opened and included films in every variety programme.
1974 Drum 8 Apr. 35My hobbies are reading, listening to the radio, going to bioscope, soccer..and travelling.
1975 Friend 28 July 8Thousands of juvenile lovers in their unisex velskoens..all heading for the ‘baaiscope’ at the top of their voices.
1980 J. Cock Maids & Madams 163We can’t be expected to sit in a bioscope (cinema) with such smelly people.
1986 B. Simon in S. Gray Market Plays 117I was coming out of bioscope after a musical picture.
1988 E. Mphahlele Renewal Time 101‘Coloured’ people have better houses;..go to the bioscope, the ‘coloured’ people sit at the back and we blacks are put right in front.
1989 J. Hobbs Thoughts in Makeshift Mortuary 76All they talked about..was boyfriends and makeup and who was going to bioscope with whom on Saturday.
1990 Sunday Times 4 Mar. (Mag. Sect.) 65A mini-museum of moviehouses, authentic in its detail right down to the heavy velvet curtains, retrieved from a bioscope about to close down.
c. rare With distinguishing epithet.
little bioscope, mini-bioscope: television.
1971 Daily News 8 Mar. 13First it was Dr. Albert Hertzog and his opposition to the ‘little bioscope’.
1971 Personality 28 May 30It seems to me only fair that if the ‘little bioscope’ is to be allowed to insinuate itself into everyone’s homes on the Sabbath, the big bioscope should be allowed the same privilege.
1977 E. Prov. Herald 1 July 15Dr Albert Hertzog..who called television an ‘immoral mini-bioscope’..will make his television debut soon.
2. figurative. A spectacle; entertainment.
1953 P. Lanham Blanket Boy’s Moon 204Dost Ghulam watched with interested eyes the bioscope which Nature provided on the windscreen of the motor car.
1956 A. Sampson Drum 80I watched a faithless husband hiding under the table from his wife, while his friends chased his mistress out of the window. ‘Big bioscope,’ said a fat man, shaking beside me.
1969 A. Fugard Boesman & Lena 36The ou trying to catch his donkey? Or the other one running around with his porridge looking for a fire to finish cooking it? It was Bioscope man!
1981 Sunday Times 1 Mar. (Mag. Sect.) 5We had become, Steenkamp and I, part of the Cape Town bioscope.
1986 L. Sampson in Style May 103It is..a real bioscope. What they don’t buy, and what they don’t do. Oi, sometimes a person can hardly believe it.
A motion-picture film; bio. Also attributive.
A cinema, or motion-picture house; bio.
A spectacle; entertainment.

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18981990