Bushman, noun

Also Bushesman.
DutchShow more Translation of Dutch Bosjesman, see Bosjesman. See also quotation 1841.
a. San sense 1. Also attributive.
See note at San sense 1.
1698 W. Dampier New Voy. round World II. 108A small Nation of Savage People, called by our English Wild Bushmen; that live in Caves and in holes of Rocks...They are of low stature, tawny colour’d, with crisped Hair.
1804 R. Renshaw Voy. to Cape of G.H. 19This dignity..must be acquired by feats of courage..; a prince must have killed a lion, a bear and a Bosjesman, or (as we say) Bushman.
1826 G. Barker Journal. 7 Sept.The Sum of 64 Rds 4 Sk collected for the Bushmen at Philippolis under the instruction of Mr Clark.
1835 A. Steedman Wanderings I. 147The term Bushmen, or Bosjesmen, has been applied to these people by the European Colonists, in consequence of their wandering habits of life.
1841 B. Shaw Memorials 27The race of people called Bushmen, are thus designated from the place of their residence, which is among the bushes; or from the concealed manner in which they make an attack either to kill or plunder.
1841 B. Shaw Memorials 30The Bushmen neither cultivate the ground nor breed cattle, but for animal food are dependant upon the chase or theft.
1843 Cape of G.H. Almanac & Annual Register 430In a few years the race of Bushmen will be extinct, not simply by death, but by amalgamation with other and more useful tribes of natives in the Colony.
1856 Cape of G.H. Almanac & Annual Register (Annual Advertiser) 73Kafir Karosses and Assegais, Bushmans Bows and poisoned arrows and numerous other specimens of African curiosities.
1876 F. Boyle Savage Life 3The diamond country was haunted by the dreaded Bushmen or Bosjesmen, and kindred tribes, whose poisoned arrows flew unseen by night against every intruder.
1882 C.L. Norris-Newman With Boers in Tvl 20The nomad Bushmen, the original inhabitants of the soil, were either obliged to leave it, being robbed of all they possessed by the stronger nations, sought the protection of the new-comers, or relapsed entirely into a wild life, being hunted and killed wherever and whenever found.
1911 D.B. Hook ’Tis but Yesterday 43A Bushman trooper laughingly imitating the ferocity of the little swordsman in leather ‘crackers,’ who rode at him like the very devil!
1928 C.H.L. Hahn in Native Tribes of S.W. Afr. 82The Hottentots, Hereros and Ovambos state that on their arrival the Bushmen were found in occupation and that the latter must have been living here ever since the creation of man.
1936 Cambridge Hist. of Brit. Empire VIII. 20The Bushmen are not mentioned in the Cape Records as a separate people until about 1685. In general the early settlers made no attempt to distinguish them clearly from the Hottentots...The Bushmen are typically short in stature, averaging about five feet, with slender limbs, small hands and feet, and poorly developed bodies.
1950 J. Sachs in B. Sachs Herman Charles Bosman (1971) 164Bushman art..shows affinities to oriental art where colour is used for decorative rather than realistic purposes.
1984 Evening Post 22 Aug. 4The role of Bushman women, whose husbands were in the army, had also undergone considerable changes.
1989 E. Prov. Herald 27 Dec. 10As to why Bushmen should be called San, these people do not possess a common language, nor a single name for themselves...We might as well use the name the Khoi folk used.
1990 W. Steenkamp in Frontline Dec. 19At least two of my ancestors had their lives saved by Bushmen, and I object to ‘San’, which means ‘robber’. It’s a hell of a label to hang on an innocent people who were the original South Africans.
b. combinations
Bushman bells, see quotation 1913 ;
Bushman painting, a rock painting made with various natural pigments, and believed to have had religious significance ;
Bushman’s bottom, see quotation 1969 ;
Bushman’s potato, (a) see quotation 1886; (b) see quotation 1982 .
1905 G.W. Stow Native Races of S. Afr. 110The last instruments we shall notice were those which have been termed ‘Bushman bells.’
1913 C. Pettman Africanderisms 99Bushman bells, Hollow spheres made of skin with small stones inside; large ones were fastened by the Bushmen to the upper arm and shoulders, while smaller ones were fastened on the belt and worn round their waists at dances. The noise they make is like peas in a bladder.
1883 O.E.A. Schreiner Story of Afr. Farm 11They sat under a shelving rock, on the surface of which were still visible some old Bushman-paintings, their red and black pigments having been preserved through long years from wind and rain by the overhanging ledge.
1905 W. Anderson in Flint & Gilchrist Science in S. Afr. 269It is..often very difficult to distinguish the authentic Bushman paintings from the reproduced copies of later days.
1946 M.S. Geen Making of Union of S. Afr. 212It is almost impossible to estimate the age of the Bushman paintings with any degree of accuracy.
1973 A.R. Willcox in Std Encycl. of Sn Afr. IX. 73The rock paintings of Southern Africa are generally called ‘Bushman’ paintings, and it is certain that most of them were the work of the Bushmen.
1989 S. Van der Toorn in Motorist Nov. 21Stick figures, elongated eland, bows and arrows. The legacy of Bushmen paintings provide a fragile link with our past.
1969 J.M. White Land God Made in Anger 106There are dozens of genera of mesembryanthemums..and the genus which is most commonly met with in the northern Namib is Lithops, known to the Afrikaners as Bushman’s Bottom.
1886 G.A. Farini Through Kalahari Desert 106The ‘Bushman’s potato,’ a bulbous plant, with green leaves spotted with brown, which contained a good deal of water. I tasted the root, and found it a little bitter, but not unpleasant.
1982 Fox & Norwood Young Food from Veld 232Fungi Terfezia claveryi,..Common names: English — Bushman potato, Kalahari truffle, truffle...In size and colour these truffles resemble potatoes and they have been recorded in dry and sandy localities between the northern Cape and the Mediterranean.
2. San sense 2. Also attributive.
1835 W.B. Boyce in A. Steedman Wanderings II. 280One of these men interpreted my interpreter’s Caffre into the Bushman language, and, for the first time, one hundred and twenty of these wanderers heard the words of everlasting life.
1850 J.W. Appleyard Kafir Lang. 15The Bushman family includes the several dialects which are spoken by the wandering tribes called Bushmen.
1862 W.H.I. Bleek Comparative Grammar 1The Bushman tongue is as yet too insufficiently known to allow us to assign it to its proper place in a general classification of languages.
1869 W.H.I. Bleek in R. Noble Cape & its People 277Many nouns in Bushman vary in their terminations according to their position or use.
1874 J.M. Orpen in Folklore (1919) XXX. 146He sent another bird, the tinktinki..-qinqininyq in Bushman.
1908 J.M. Orpen Reminisc. (1964) 21The Bushman language is quite full of sounds of unique character, which we call clicks, and queer combinations of explosive sounds and deep gutterals.
1923 D.F. Bleek Mantis & his FriendsIntro., This volume appears in English only, but I intend publishing a small edition of the same tales in Bushman as soon as possible.
1960 Times (U.K.) 31 May (S. Afr. Suppl.) p.xvAfrikaans also borrowed from..the Hottentot and Bushman tongue.
1973 Sunday Times 27 May 4When enunciated with the appropriate clicks this word amounts to an emphatic negative in the Bushman language.
1980 Daily Dispatch 24 July 7Bushman Bible may be doomed...Tsumkwe Kung, the language of Rev Weich’s translations is one of three main branches of the Bushman language.
1981 G.B. Silberbauer Hunter & Habitat 4‘Bushman’ distinguishes neither a language or even a family of languages...Traill (1978) concluded that there are five separate language families among those of the yellow southern African hunter-gatherers.
1986 M. Picardie in S. Gray Market Plays 93Go back, back to the time when dark skins, crinkly hair, flat nose, thick lips, talking Malay, or Hottentot or Bushman or even Xhosa didn’t matter.
3. Derogatory and offensive. coloured noun sense a. Also attributive.
1954 M. Gandhi in Drum Feb. 14The term commonly used for Indians, Coloureds and Africans is respectively ‘Coolie,’ ‘Bushman’ and ‘Kaffir.’
1961 D. Bee Children of Yesterday 107A big Native had said to him there, ‘Sit at the back, Bushman’ — the most deadly insult a native can give a Coloured man in South Africa.
1971 Sunday Times 27 June 13The other children ganged together and kept calling me ‘Bushman’. I was afraid to go to school.
1978 A. Essop Hajji 28Myrtle was a blowsy woman, tall, frizzy-haired...She was often abusively referred to by women as ‘that Bushman bitch’.
1986 M. Picardie in S. Gray Market Plays 87You Hottentot rubbish...You Bushman piece of dirt.
San1. Also attributive.
, see quotation 1913
, a rock painting made with various natural pigments, and believed to have had religious significance
, see quotation 1969
, (a) see quotation 1886; (b) see quotation 1982
San2. Also attributive.
colourednouna. Also attributive.
Entry Navigation

Visualise Quotations

Quotation summary