boss up, interjectional phrase

South African Dutch
pas op interjectional phrase.
1835 T.H. Bowker Journal. 7 Aug.They fired a kafir fire in the top of the Clugh where the blackguards are watching us, boss up.
1892 Nicolls & Eglington Sportsman in S. Afr. 81Extra precaution should be observed, or, as the Dutch hunters say, ‘boss up.’
1913 C. Pettman Africanderisms 83Boss up!, A corruption of the Cape Dutch Pas op! — Take care! look out!
[1928 N. Stevenson Afr. Harvest 194He..silenced the old woman by saying: ‘Bos op, Auntie; you had better see to the supper, burning.’]
Hence (nonce) boss up  transitive verbal phrase [perhaps influenced by English boss to manage, control], to take care of (someone), to supervise (someone); cf. pass-up sense b, pasop verb.
1884 C. Du Val With Show through Sn Afr. I. 38They (sc. the quay porters) are not enthusiastically devoted to hard work, but do not appear to be altogether unwilling if put in the right groove and kept well ‘bossed up.’
Entry Navigation

Visualise Quotations

Quotation summary