English, Spanish, ArabicShow more Special senses of general English calabash any of several gourds, or their (dried, hollowed-out) fruits; adaptation of Spanish calabaza probably from Arabic qar’ah yabisah dry gourd.
1.obsolete.rare. [Named for the shape of the tree’s fruits.]The baobab tree, Adansonia digitata of the Bombacaceae.
1810J. Mackrill Diary. 88The Baobab, or Adansonia, the Calabash of Africa, the largest tree in the World..is totally distinct from the Cresentia or American Calibash tree.
1817J. LeydenHist. Acct of Disc. & Trav. in Afr.I. 201The other tree is the baobab, which he called calabash, remarkable not for its height, which does not exceed sixty feet, but for its prodigious thickness.
2. As in general English, the fruit of the bottle gourd Lagenaria siceraria of the Cucurbitaceae (see maranka) when used as a receptacle, but in the following combinations peculiar to South African English:
calabash milk, curdled milk prepared in a calabash; see also maas sense 1;
calabash pipe, a tobacco pipe made of a small gourd; occasionally also elliptical, calabash.
1900E.E.K. LowndesEvery-Day Life 87This (sc. stamped mealies), with ‘calabash milk’ forms the staple Kaffir food.
1956F.C. MetrowichValiant but Once 197She..gave him a basin of coffee, some calabash milk and some flour porridge sprinkled with sugar.
1967E.M. SlatterMy Leaves Are Green 209Calabash milk lay in clotted heaps on the floors and the granary huts were still smouldering.
1979Heard & FaullOur Best Trad. Recipes 15The hollow calabash shells..were used as containers for all kinds of things, some fitted with lids. Some of these gourds were for the making of calabash milk, or sour milk.
1910J. RuncieIdylls by Two Oceans 12Stretching out his hand to a pipe rack, the man reached down a calabash [pipe] and filled it brimful with the sun-dried Transvaal.
1913C. PettmanAfricanderisms 104Calabash pipe, A pipe the bowl of which is made from the shell of a peculiarly shaped calabash.
1957L.G. GreenBeyond City Lights 125South Africans have never taken to the calabash pipe, though it gives a cool, slow smoke lasting for an hour.
1969I.D. Colvin inLennox-Short & LightonStories S. African 130He himself did nothing except sit on his stoep with a keg of Hollands..or some other potent spirit by his side, a bocal in his hand and a large calabash pipe in his mouth.
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