das, noun

Also dass.
dasses, dassen.
South African Dutch, DutchShow more South African Dutch, from Dutch, ‘badger’.
1. obsolete.
a. dassie sense 1. Also attributive.
[1652 J. Van Riebeeck Daghregister14. Nov.,..5 dode ende 5 lewendige dassen.]
1786 G. Forster tr. of A. Sparrman’s Voy. to Cape of G.H. I. 309Those little animals which..by the colonists are called dasses, or badgers.
1795 C.R. Hopson tr. of C.P. Thunberg’s Trav. I. 284In my various excursions to Table Mountain, I observed in its crevices both Dasses and Baboons.
1798 S.H. Wilcocke tr. of J.S. Stavorinus’s Voy. to E. Indies I. 35Dassen, or Badger Island..is improperly called Coney Island..: it has its name from the quantities of a species of Guinea-rat, or the cavia capensis,..which are wrongfully called dassen or badgers, by the people of the Cape.
1801 J. Barrow Trav. I. 27In the caverns of Table Mountain..is found in considerable numbers a small dusky-coloured animal..called here the Das..and by Pennant..[the] Cape Cavy.
1812 A. Plumptre tr. of H. Lichtenstein’s Trav. in Sn Afr. (1928) I. 88The das or hyrax capensis of Linnaeus, is a small dusky coloured animal, about the size of a rabbit, with short ears and no tail, which inhabits many of the mountains in the colony.
1841 B. Shaw Memorials 305Vaillant.., when on his journey to Namacqua-land..engaged in hunting the dassen of the mountains.
1884 Wood in Sunday Mag. Nov. 719The most successful Das hunter.
b. combinations
das-adder, a mythical animal with the head of a hyrax and the body and tail of a snake ;
dassie-adder or dassie-serpent, see dassie sense 3 .
Associated by some with the rock monitor Varanus exanthematicus subspecies albigularis. See also leguaan.
1849 A. Smith Illust. of Zoo. of S. Afr.: Reptilia Pl.2Varanus Albigularis...The animal which is called the Das adder by the colonists, and which is so much dreaded under an idea of its being extremely venomous.
a1875 T. Baines Jrnl of Res. (1964) II. 77I had repeatedly heard accounts of an animal called the dass-adder, a union of the form of the dassie — Hyrax Capensis — and the snake, but had doubted its existence.
1934 C.P. Swart Supplement to Pettman. 38The Research Bureau of The Argus 5/5/34 states: the das adder is a purely fabulous animal and its existence only as real as a purely fallacious belief can make it. It is interesting as an essentially South African belief. The beast is said to exist in mountainous regions and to have the head of a ‘dassie’ or rock rabbit, and the body of a snake.
1951 L.G. Green Grow Lovely 138The mystery of the das-adder — a fabulous monster with the head of a dassie and the body of a snake..the ‘das-adder’ legend persists in the Cape, and some people in the country cannot be shaken in their belief.
2. rare Either of two species of seabream of the Sparidae: a. The blacktail, Diplodus sargus capensis. b. The bronze bream (sense b), Pachymetopon grande.
1902 J.D.F. Gilchrist in Trans. of S. Afr. Philological Soc. XI. 227Dasje, Das (Knysna)?..Sargus rondelletii.
1972 Daily Dispatch 20 June 17Our favourite fish, the jan bruin, is elsewhere a Hottentot, a das, a fatfish, butterfish, bluefish, or bronze bream, to mention some of its various names.
1979 Snyman & Klarie Free from Sea 25Blue Hottentot,..das.
dassie sense 1. Also attributive.
, a mythical animal with the head of a hyrax and the body and tail of a snake
The blacktail, Diplodus sargus capensis.
The bronze bream (sense b), Pachymetopon grande.
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