bok-bok, noun

Forms:
Also with initial capital.
Origin:
Afrikaans, Dutch, Show more Afrikaans, from Dutch. The intended sense of bok is uncertain. The name is derived from a formula recited in the game, the Afrikaans version being ‘Bok, bok, staan styf, hoeveel vingers op jou lyf?’, (Bok, bok, stand firm, how many fingers on your body?). The game, believed to be of great antiquity, is known in Britain as ‘Hey cockalorum’; the name ‘Buck-buck’ has also been recorded.
Note:
In the Satyricon of T. Petronius Arbiter (d. A.D. 66), a man, riding on another’s back and hitting him on the shoulder with his fingers, asks ‘Bucca, bucca, quot sunt hic?’ (Bucca, bucca, how many are here?). In this context the meaning of bucca is not known. Its usual sense is ‘mouth’ or ‘cheek’, but it can also mean ‘big-mouth’; here, it may be related to the Sanskrit bukka he-goat, or be borrowed from a Germanic word represented in modern Dutch by bok goat, or in Old English by the word búc belly, body, trunk.
A boys’ game, with several variations, in which the players of one team fling themselves onto the other team in an attempt to make them collapse, either jumping one at a time onto the bent backs of opposing team members, or attempting to topple a pyramid composed of the other team.
Note:
See note at now-now.
1936 E. Rosenthal Old-Time Survivals 20‘Bok-Bok’, One of South Africa’s most popular games among boys. The basic idea, and even the quaint Dutch formula, spoken before the heap of youngsters collapses on the ground, is traceable far back into the Middle Ages.
1944 Twede in Bevel Piet Kolonel 55He played boat races, scissors with the Colonel on the billiard table, bok-bok with teams of which every member was double his weight.
1967 E. Rosenthal Encycl. of Sn Afr. 67Bok-Bok, Popular name of a game played by boys in South Africa...One player stands against a wall, while others form a chain, jumping over each other until the whole group collapses.
1975 D. Woods in Cape Times 7 Feb. 12The whole ethos of bok-bok predicates that some poor ou must always be up against a tree..to absorb the impact of the leap. Then again, the leaper, who is basically seeking a superior or privileged position, is allowed to crash down on to the bent back of one of the lesser players.
1982 D. Kramer Short Back & Sides 52I grew up under the heavy hand Of the cane and the dominee I grew up in this government plan Playing bok-bok and toktokkie.
1985 W. Smith Burning Shore 5Michael was teaching the other new chums how to play the game of Bok-Bok...One team formed a human pyramid against a wall of the mess, while the other team attempted to collapse them by taking a full run and then hurling themselves on top of the structure.
1988 T.J. Lindsay Shadow (1990) 187Before long they had formed two teams and were playing bok-bok, one team forming a scrum around one of the plane trees, the other hurling themselves at it after a run up one at a time.
A boys’ game, with several variations, in which the players of one team fling themselves onto the other team in an attempt to make them collapse, either jumping one at a time onto the bent backs of opposing team members, or attempting to topple a pyramid composed of the other team.

Visualise Quotations

Quotation summary

Senses

19361988