bush, noun1 and adjective1

Origin:
English, South African DutchShow more English, influenced by South African Dutch bosch and its senses, see bosch.
A. noun
1.
a. noncount. The thick vegetation covering any uncultivated area; bosch sense 1.
1698 [see Bushman sense 1 a].
1827 T. Philipps Scenes & Occurrences 80Our road lay principally through bush. [Note] A term used by the inhabitants and very appropriate, for it is neither timber nor brushwood but a growth peculiar to this country.
1835 C.L. Stretch Journal. 29 Mar.They were carelessly sitting down near some bush. The enemy, perceiving their negligence, effected their destruction with very little trouble.
1843 R. Godlonton in J.C. Chase Cape of G.H. (1967) 46The Fish River here pursues its course through a deep but broad valley in some places greatly encumbered with bush.
1853 F.P. Fleming Kaffraria 32Those parts of Kaffraria, which are clothed by nature with this so called ‘bush’, are almost impervious to European invaders.
1860 D.L.W. Stainbank Diary. (Killie Campbell Africana Library KCM8680) 2 Feb.2 Kafirs making path through bush to top of hill where I intend building.
1882 O.E.A. Schreiner Diamond Fields. 83Right down to the walls & the little hill behind, is all covered with bush, right to the very top.
1882 J. Nixon Among Boers 147Soon after inspanning, we emerged onto a plain covered with our old friend ‘bush’ instead of grass.
1964 A. Rothmann Elephant Shrew 33There are miles and miles of bush, a dense, impenetrable mass of num-num, thorn bushes, taaibos, gnarled ghwarrie-trees.
1972 Grocott’s Mail 12 May 4Medium-sized building plot, preferably with some natural bush.
1991 F.G. Butler Local Habitation 52Interesting things were always being done, such as bush being cleared for new lands, sheep-shearing, harvesting, and above all, dam-building.
b. Attributive and in combinations
bushfire, cf. veldfire (see veld sense 2 b);
bush hat, a military-style cloth hat with a narrow, floppy brim;
bush jacket, a belted cotton jacket, often khaki, usually with buttoned pockets; also called safari jacket sense (a), see safari;
bush knife, a large, heavy hunting-knife;
bush pay historical, a special allowance paid to soldiers on border duty (see Border sense 3 b);
bush soil, (usually in the Eastern Cape) the dark, friable soil found in bush country and valued by gardeners.
1911 Farmer’s Weekly 4 Oct. 126Farmers are beginning to complain of drought, and the number of bush fires that have raged in the vicinity of Grahamstown indicates that the country is getting dry.
1975 E. Prov. Herald 13 Nov. 3Firemen..were busy this morning trying to prevent a large bushfire which is burning in the Chatty River Valley near the old Uitenhage road from spreading to a nearby house.
1988 Cape Times 11 Jan. 7A raging bushfire at Leeukoppie near Llandudno caused fearful home owners to start evacuating their homes on Saturday afternoon.
1961 D. Bee Children of Yesterday 211They entered through the open door and Nigel removed the beloved bush-hat from his head.
1987 Personality 7 Oct. 16Pieter Groenewald still wears his olive-green military bush hat when he doses the sheep or inspects for wheat rust.
1990 Sunday Times 14 Oct. 12Their placards..were also messages of hate. ‘The first kaffir in my school I will shoot dead,’ said one, carried by a youngster sporting a bush hat.
1966 F.G. Butler S. of Zambesi 27I called a full indaba of headmen and of foremen, sat like Solomon in my canvas chair between them, in a clean bush-jacket and best topee, with a drunken interpreter swaying behind my throne.
1978 D. Smuts in Fair Lady 19 July 43A big black woman in a white bush jacket stood up at a poetry reading in Constantia one night and brought the house down.
1988 M.M. Carlin in Frontline Apr.May 15Kenneth Kaunda, in his early days wore a bush jacket with a spotted scarf, exactly like a Northern Rhodesian farmer.
1971 Daily News 15 Feb.About 1 000 tribesmen armed with battleaxes, spears and bush knives.
1983 B. Maseko in Staffrider Vol.5 No.3, 2Before the van came to a halt, the two men, bush knives in their hands, alighted. The cyclist saw the bush knives, abandoned his bicycle and ran for dear life.
1986 Daily Dispatch 26 Feb. 4Charges include..attempting to murder a man with sticks, bush knives and a firearm.
1979 E. Prov. Herald 26 Oct. 1Some of the soldiers complained to reporters that they were owed ‘bush pay’ (border camp allowance) and extra leave.
1981 Cape Times 27 June 7He will receive not only his full military pay..but also the standard SADF camp allowance — commonly known as ‘bush pay’ — of several rands a day which is paid for service within the operational area.
[1982 A. Viljoen in E. Prov. Herald 27 Aug. 1The Zimbabwean government had the South African force numbers, ranks, salaries and bush allowances of the three white soldiers killed in south-eastern Zimbabwe last week.]
1974 Informant, GrahamstownBush soil is soil that you get for your garden. You get it from the bush. It’s very dark.
1991 E. Prov. Herald 7 Feb. 15 (advt)Bush soil: For better clean quality bush soil phone the oldest name in the game.
2.
a. Plural bushes, or (rarely) unchanged. A forest or thicket; bosch sense 2.
Note:
A sense formerly found in British English but now obsolete.
[1823 G. Barker Journal. 7 Dec.We then sat down to a cold dinner, in a bush, about 120 [persons].]
1829 W. Shaw Diary. 14 MayThe Cwanguha is a high point of land, on the summit of which is a rather extensive timber Bush.
1833 Graham’s Town Jrnl 7 Feb. 3One would suppose that a bush in which flocks of sheep and herds of cattle are taken care of, there must be space sufficient for men to pass.
1857 R. Gray Jrnl of Visitation to Diocese of Graham’s Town 15We proceeded on our way, passing by, shortly after leaving the Fort, Burn’s Hill, a dense bush close by the Keiskamma.
1860 W. Shaw Story of my Mission 401The smaller bush or woods, found in all parts of the country, supply all their wants for fuel, and for implements of war and agriculture.
a1867 C.J. Andersson Notes of Trav. (1875) 318We only passed two insignificant bushes. In traversing the last wood, which offered no impediment to our vehicle, I observed the singular fact that nearly every tree of a certain species was all but destroyed.
1871 J. McKay Reminisc. 15We had arrived at a path or road in a dense bush, through which a wagon might with difficulty pass.
1888 Castle Line Handbk & Emigrant’s Guide 69The soil..having been covered to a large extent by a thick forest of trees (usually termed ‘bush’) for many years, is in parts richly charged with decayed vegetable matter.
1971 Rand Daily Mail 27 July 5Six safes and a stolen light delivery van had been found by the police in a bush near a Pretoria African township.
1991 F.G. Butler Local Habitation 52There was the silhouette of Rhebokberg and the tree-lined course of the Great Fish River, the dam, the poplar bush and the lands.
b. An element in place names, especially in the Eastern Cape, e.g. Assegai Bush, Fish River Bush, Kowie Bush. See also bosch sense 3 b.
3. noncount. Usually the bush: undeveloped, largely uninhabited country; country in its natural state. Also attributive. See also bundu, bushveld sense 2, veld sense 2 a i.
Note:
Used also in Australian English (1790).
1829 C. Rose Four Yrs in Sn Afr. 146When the wife of a Kaffer dies, he becomes unclean, leaves the kraal, and lives in the bush for a certain time.
1841 B. Shaw Memorials 247He used to drive us into the bush, but to-day he is come to speak God’s word to us.
1845 J.M. Bowker Speeches & Sel. (1864) 173The invincible might of British troops, supported by the courage of a colonial population accustomed to conflict in the bush.
1852 M.B. Hudson S. Afr. Frontier Life 151The Seventy-fourth, raw to the bush, made a bungle.
1877 R.M. Ballantyne Settler & Savage 84The prospect, as I’ve heard father say to mother..is a life in the bush — by which I suppose he means the bushes.
1933 W.H.S. Bell Bygone Days 36The bush had a great attraction for us. Whenever our other duties permitted we made tracks for the bush.
1944 J. Mockford Here Are S. Africans 25After spending a night or two in the bush, where wild beasts glared and growled, they were glad to return to the bosom of the van Riebeek family.
1976 S. Cloete Chetoko 9The scene was in a way symbolic: the old Africa meeting the products of civilization on the floor of a store in the bush.
1991 J. Shepherd-Smith in Sunday Tribune 19 May 5The bush camp is only for bush purists. Toilet facilities are a toilet roll, a spade and a clearing far from the campsite.
1994 P. Gird in Sunday Times 18 Sept. 3She wants to come back. She fell in love with the bush.
4. Especially in traditional Xhosa society: in the expression to go to the bush, to take part in the traditional period of initiation during which young black men withdraw from their communities after undergoing circumcision. See also circumcision school (circumcision sense 2).
1976 M. Tholo in C. Hermer Diary of Maria Tholo (1980) 22We saw a big group of youths going to the bush up the road carrying loads of bushes and sticks like they do when they are going to slaughter and use a lot of fire.
1980 E. Joubert Long Journey of Poppie Nongena 41Three of the boys went together to do abakwetha. They go into the bush to do the ritual, and that is why we call it going to the bush for short.
B. adjective derogatory.
1. Inferior; rough-and-ready; uncivilized.
Note:
Not exclusively South African English.
1974 Sunday Express 30 June 20She has stamped out crime to the zing of a flaying sjambok and the rule of her dreaded makgotlas — unofficial tribal-type bush courts.
1982 E. Prov. Herald 17 June 1He had to be shown that the law would not tolerate his kind of ‘bush justice’, two Grahamstown judges said yesterday.
1982 Reader Dec. 7They sometimes bring people to their own courts called the ‘bush courts’. People who are found guilty get beaten in public.
1983 Pace Oct. 52The President has found..a politically-aware community that calls his Zwelitsha establishment a ‘Bush Government.’
1983 F.G. Butler Bursting World 269The wind had blown my bush-carpentry to pieces, and sleet was screaming through the window.
1986 M. Mabusela in E. Prov. Herald 20 June 3A New Brighton ‘bush mechanic’ was found guilty..of stealing an assortment of car tools, worth R5 200.
1987 A. Amaphixiphixi in Frontline May 27Many felt strongly that giving in to bush discipline would degrade that status of the committees and pave the way for more lawlessness and anarchy.
1988 J. Khumalo in Pace June 8Eminent scientists are..baffled by WHO’s curious romance with witchcraft. To them working alongside these Bush Doctors is infra dig.
1988 R.S.A. Policy Review (Bureau of Information) Vol.1 No.1, 46Black educationalists’ fears that differentiated curricula could mean inferior apartheid or bush education.
2. Special collocations bush college, bush university: derogatory, any of several universities founded by the government for exclusive use by blacks, ‘coloureds’, and Indians, in terms of Act 45 of 1959 which made non-racial universities illegal. See also tribal college.
1976 A.P. Brink Mapmakers (1983) 140The ‘black’ universities, where libraries are under strict control and students constantly surveilled by Security Police, and where academic qualifications are often secondary to political convictions, are generally referred to as ‘Bush Colleges’.
1978 Sunday Times 26 Mar. 12Blacks had entered universities like his, which had been called ‘bush colleges’, with resentment because they had been ‘forced’ to go to them.
1983 University Apartheid (Nusas) (pamphlet)The Extension of University Education Act..provided for the complete segregation of universities by establishing separate campuses, under strict state control, for black students. Today, the campuses of Fort Hare, Turfloop, Western Cape and Durban-Westville, known as ‘bush colleges’, fall into this category.
1987 J. Gerwel in New Nation 5 Mar. 19UWC was created as a bush college under apartheid, but it has managed to outgrow this and become an open university.
1988 M. Fairall in Fair Lady 3 Feb. 58Then came her years at the ‘bush college’ on Durban’s Salisbury Island,..predecessor of the Indian Campus of the University of Durban-Westville.
1988 G. Mokae in Pace Apr. 62When the Medical University of Southern Africa (Medunsa) was started in 1978, cynics saw it as another political still birth of apartheid..a ‘bush college’.
1991 P. Maurice in Weekly Mail 28 Mar. 33Sached..established itself in 1959 by offering assistance to about 60 students who refused to go to ‘bush’ colleges.
1992 New Nation 7 Aug. 9The process of transforming South Africa’s black universities — once disparagingly referred to as bush colleges — is proceeding with vigour. Several..are preparing themselves for a new role in a democratic society. This includes breaking away from their apartheid ‘masters’ and forging much closer relationships with both the local and the international community.
[1983 Pace Dec. 140If they could not get a place at Wits or some other established universities, they would sacrifice their future academic careers rather than go to ‘those bush university-colleges’.]
1987 New Nation 10 Sept. 5Despite mass protest and huge international support, the ‘open’ universities were closed and the bush universities were established.
1988 Drum Sept. 10Who’s fooling whom at this bush university?..The never never world of the self created Moretele University in Hammanskraal, BophuthaTswana.
1991 Weekly Mail 24 May 2Leaving school to become a teacher of mathematics and science, he returned to his studies..when he enrolled for a BSc at a ‘bush’ university, Turfloop.
3. In the intransitive verbal phrase to go bush, to lose the veneer of civilization by living in the bush or country.
1978 G. Langley in Sunday Times 2 Apr. (Mag. Sect.) 2Memories of earlier days, when he was young and strong, riding the hills bareback, following the cattle as they wandered, going ‘bush’ and sleeping rough like the pioneers of old.
1982 J. Platter in Signature July 25Many of them are kind enough to..patiently bring me up to date on the state of the world. But I sense their sympathy for one who has gone mildly ‘bush’ in the four years I’ve been a wine farmer.
1985 Style Oct. 52The Englishman’s contact with the land has always been uneasy. Some go bats. Some go bush.
The thick vegetation covering any uncultivated area; bosch1.
A forest or thicket; bosch2.
An element in place names, especially in the Eastern Cape, e.g. Assegai Bush, Fish River Bush, Kowie Bush.
undeveloped, largely uninhabited country; country in its natural state. Also attributive.
in the expression to go to the bush, to take part in the traditional period of initiation during which young black men withdraw from their communities after undergoing circumcision.
Inferior; rough-and-ready; uncivilized.
any of several universities founded by the government for exclusive use by blacks, ‘coloureds’, and Indians, in terms of Act 45 of 1959 which made non-racial universities illegal.
In the intransitive verbal phrase to go bush, to lose the veneer of civilization by living in the bush or country.

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18231994