bont, adjective

Forms:
Also (attributive) bonte.
Origin:
Dutch, AfrikaansShow more Dutch (and Afrikaans), gaudy, motley, variegated.
1.
a. Variegated or pied.
Note:
A dominant colour is sometimes indicated: see quotations 1881, 1886, and 1925.
1846 J.M. Bowker Speeches & Sel. (1864) 222We veered off..by the bont bushes.., firing at them whenever we got behind one.
1881 Alice Times 14 Jan.In the Municipal Pound, at Seymour,..will be sold..1 Vaal Bont Ox, small halfmoon in the right ear.
1886 G.A. Farini Through Kalahari Desert 295This is a zwart bont (dark spotted) [giraffe]; they are thicker and heavier than the witte bont (white spots), but not so long.
1892 The Jrnl 9 July 2Red and white cow, mostly red, little white under belly, and bont on both hips, white patch on forehead.
1913 C. Pettman Africanderisms 77Bont,..Variegated, motley.
1925 S.G. Cronwright-Schreiner in F.C. Slater Centenary Bk of S. Afr. Verse 62The great buck-wagon, our ‘desert ship,’ With its four-ton heavy load, And its rooi-bont span and the Wagon-Whip, Is coming along the road.
1982 E. Prov. Herald 11 Nov. 15A small group of grazing bontebok begin to take up their characteristic heat-defeating stance...The buck certainly are ‘bont’, a handy Afrikaans word meaning brightly colourful or multicoloured.
b. An element in the names of birds and mammals:
bonte elsje obsolete [South African Dutch, from Dutch elsje, awl (for the shape of its bill)], the avocet Recurvirostra avosetta of the Recurvirostridae;
bonte vos obsolete [South African Dutch, from Dutch vos fox], see quotation;
bont korhaan, black korhaan (see korhaan sense 1 b);
bont-skilpad /-ˌskəlpat/ [Afrikaans, skilpad tortoise], the angulate tortoise, Chersine angulata of the Testudinidae;
bontspan /-ˌspan/ [Afrikaans, span team], see quotation.
1884 Layard & Sharpe Birds of S. Afr. 673The Bonte Elsje, lit. ‘pied cobbler’s awl,’ occurs periodically in the colony in small flocks.
1844 J. Backhouse Narr. of Visit 89A Bonte Vos, Spotted Fox, a fine animal of the jackal tribe, crossed our path among the sand-hills in the forenoon.
c1939 S.H. Skaife S. Afr. Nature Notes 45The angulated tortoise, or bont-skilpad.
1967 E. Rosenthal Encycl. of Sn Afr. 69Bontspan. Oxen of varying colours. The word is also applied to a mixture of meats roasted on a spit.
2. colloquial. Especially in the Eastern Cape: gaudy; colourful.
1970 Informant, GrahamstownI liked the dress, but she said it was a little too bont for a formal occasion.
1970 H. Mofsowitz Informant, BloemfonteinThe bont apron was very pretty. Bont — colourful.
1971 G. Massyn Informant, GrahamstownSome friends..sent her a Baby-gro suit, but it is very thin, so now I put it on under the little ‘bont’ dress you made.
1990 G. Hewitt Informant, GrahamstownGee, Shirley V—’s wearing a bont dress this morning.
1993 I.S. Dore Informant, GrahamstownGo and have a look at the guy on TV if you want to see a really bont tie.
Variegated or pied.
Especially in the Eastern Cape: gaudy; colourful.

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18441993