dassie, noun

Forms:
darsee, dasjaShow more Also darsee, dasja, dasje, dasse, dassee, dassé, dassi, dassy, dossi.
Origin:
Afrikaans, South African Dutch, DutchShow more Afrikaans, earlier South African Dutch dasje, diminutive form of Dutch das badger (see -ie).
1. Any of three species of hyrax of the Procaviidae: a. Procavia capensis; also with distinguishing epithet, klipdassie [Afrikaans, klip rock], rock dassie; klipdas sense a; b. Heterohyrax brucei; now often with distinguishing epithet yellow-spotted dassie, yellow-spotted rock dassie; klipdas sense b; c. Dendrohyrax arboreus; also with distinguishing epithet, tree dassie (formerly also boom dassie /bʊəm-/ [Afrikaans, boom tree], bosch dassie [Dutch, bosch see bosch], or bush dassie). In these senses, formerly also called das (sense 1 a). Also attributive.
1809 J. Mackrill Diary. 56Esculent & fit for Food, viz. Cavia capensis — or Darsee, Hystrix the porcupine.
1810 J. Mackrill Diary. 89Cavia capensis, Dassee or great mountain Rat.
1822 W.J. Burchell Trav. I. 265Here I procured for the first time, the Das or Dasje. This is of a brown color, and has much the appearance of a Rabbit: it is found in rocky places, where it takes shelter in the crevices. Its flesh is eatable; but the animal is exceedingly wary and difficult to get.
1835 J.W.D. Moodie Ten Yrs in S. Afr. II. 192There is another curious animal found in this part of the country, called the ‘bosch dassie,’ or wood rabbit.
1835 A. Smith Diary (1940) II. 106The dassie chews the cud. Two more obtained today, both with the black mark on the back.
1838 W.H.R. Read in Penny Cycl. XII. 419Its (sc. the hyrax’s) name at the Cape is the Dasse, which is, I believe, the Dutch for a badger.
1866 J. Leyland Adventures 7Looking up, I saw an eagle with a Dasse in its claw.
1878 T.J. Lucas Camp Life & Sport 129These stony kloofs afforded shelter to innumerable ‘dassies’, or rock rabbits; singular little creatures between a rat and a rabbit, of a dark-brown colour, destitute of tail, whose feet, denuded of fur, and covered with black leather cuticle, proclaim it as belonging to the order of pachydermata.
1882 S. Heckford Lady Trader in Tvl 106A dassy, or rock rabbit, a round furry little beast, guiltless of a tail, and with the brightest eyes, and the sharpest of white teeth, which it was not slow to use.
1900 W.L. Sclater Mammals of S. Afr. I. 313The dassie or more correctly dasje (this name is really only the Dutch diminutive for badger, with which of course the present animal has no relationship at all), is found in the rocky cliffs and stony hills which abound all over South Africa.
1908 E. Prov. Herald 18 Nov. (Pettman)The tree dassie..lives in trees and feeds upon the leaves. Colonists know this dassie as the boom or bosch dassie.
1911 E. London Dispatch 20 Dec. 5 (Pettman)Bush dassie,.This little creature makes its home in a hollow tree. He feeds and gets about his business at night.
1913 C. Pettman Africanderisms 79Boom dassie,..Procavia arborea, called also Bosch dassie.
1913 C. Pettman Africanderisms 140Dassie,..These animals are near relations of the ‘conies’ of the Old Testament Scriptures.
1926 P.W. Laidler Tavern of Ocean 32Salted dassies, or rock rabbits, were much in demand and Van Riebeeck pronounced them better-flavoured than their European cousins.
1931 Guide to Vertebrate Fauna of E. Cape Prov. (Albany Museum) I. 53Dendrohyrax arborea...Bush-dassie.
1951 R. Griffiths Grey about Flame 141Nyoka learned to spear the dassies that were so valuable for their warm brown fur.
1955 L.G. Green Karoo 174At one time all dassies lived in the trees, and there is still a tree dassie..found in the eastern Cape Province and far to the north.
1967 E. Rosenthal Encycl. of Sn Afr. 139There are two types: the Rock Dassie (Procavia capensis) of mountainous country and cliffs, and the Tree Dassie (Procavia arborea) which prefers forested country...The Rock Dassie lives in crevices among stones but does not dig itself in.
1973 J. Cowden For Love 39Black eagles live mainly on dassies (hyrax), and their domain includes several rocky stretches inhabited by these little mammals.
1973 O.H. Spohr tr. of F. Krauss’s Trav. Jrnl 30On the limestone hills nearby live lots of klipdassies, hyrax capensis.
1976 J. Hanks Mammals 76The three species are very difficult to distinguish in the field. The photograph is of the yellow-spotted dassie.
1984 G.L. Maclean Roberts’ Birds of Sn Afr. 117Food (sc. of the Black Eagle): About 90% dassies (Rock and Yellowspotted Dassies in equal proportions in Zimbabwe).
1987 B. Munitich Ben’s Buddy 5He could even call certain animals, like the little rock dassies, who came scampering and bounding from rock crevices and caves when he imitated their highpitched ‘whit-she, whit-she’ call.
1989 P. Cannan in E. Prov. Herald 21 Feb. 6Tree dassies look similar to the ordinary rock dassie.., but differ in their habits and habitat. They are mainly active at night, usually solitary and live in trees in forested areas.
1990 Skinner & Smithers Mammals of Sn Afr. Subregion 553There is ample evidence to show that extant dassies are related most closely to the dugongs and the elephants.
1990 Skinner & Smithers Mammals of Sn Afr. Subregion 561The yellow-spotted rock dassie occupies similar habitat to the rock dassie and in many parts of their distributional range the two species live on the same rocks.
2. [see quotation 1930.] Any of three species of seabream of the Sparidae: a. The blacktail, Diplodus sargus capensis. b. obsolete. rare. The steentjie (sense 1 a), Spondyliosoma emarginatum. c. obsolete. rare. The zebra, Diplodus cervinus hottentotus.
1853 L. Pappe Synopsis of Edible Fishes 22Cantharus Emarginatus..Dasje...Rare in Table Bay but more frequently caught in the several bays to the East of the Cape.
1887 S.W. Silver & Co.’s Handbk to S. Afr. 183Dasje, Rare in Table Bay, but common in the bays east of the Cape. Highly esteemed.
1902 Trans. of S. Afr. Philological Soc. XI. 220The Dasje might also with a little stretch of the imagination be likened to the rabbit or dassie from its general shape, and this is the name by which it is known in Cape Town, Hout Bay, and Kalk Bay.
1930 C.L. Biden Sea-Angling Fishes 198The name Dassie is stated to have been given by the early Dutch colonists, who saw something in the fish’s character similar to that of the rock rabbit. Whether it referred to the fish’s habit of frequenting the rocks, or to its short high and somewhat rounded body..or to its shy and timid nature, will never be known.
1945 H. Gerber Fish Fare 38Dassie is a small fish which is recognisable by the black spot on its tail...Its meat is similar to that of white stompneus.
1954 K.H. Barnard S. Afr. Shore-Life 58The Biskop or ‘Brusher’ of Natal, the White Stumpnose, Dasje and Wilde Paard have chisel-like front teeth..with which to wrench mollusc shells off the rocks, and strong back molars to grind them up.
1955 C. Horne Fisherman’s Eldorado 16Galjoen and dassies often provide good catches. The dassie, when he travels eastwards, becomes the blacktail in both Natal and the Eastern Province.
1973 Farmer’s Weekly 18 Apr. 102The hottentot responds to all the usual methods of cooking and the same may be said of the dassie — a silvery fish with a black stripe across its tail.
1987 E. Prov. Herald 28 Mar. 6A small fish which is often overlooked for its fighting qualities and which light tackle anglers will go for this coming winter is the blacktail — also known as dassie.
1992 Yeld & Gubb in Afr. Wildlife Vol.46 No.2, 201They (sc. the trek-fishermen) are entitled to take..unlimited quantities of ‘angling’ species such as white steenbras, yellowtail, elf, kob, white stumpnose, dassie and belman during a season.
3. combinations
(sense 1) dassie-adder obsolete, das-adder (see das sense 1 b);
dassiebos, either of two species of shrub, Stachys linearis or Salvia disermas of the Lamiaceae;
dassie rat, the small mammal Petromys typicus of the Petromuridae;
dassie serpent obsolete, das-adder (see das sense 1 b).
1890 A. Martin Home Life 257An object of even more superstitious dread is that mysterious and deadly creature — half quadruped, half reptile, and certainly altogether fabulous — the so-called dassie-adder.
1898 M.E. Barber Erythrina Tree 56In a conflict with the Dassie adder, if either of the contending parties is injured, both at once rush off to the nearest stream, to take a plunge into its healing waters, the winner in the race being the survivor, while the loser dies.
1932 F.W. Fitzsimons Snakes 139Periodically the old myth of the existence of a Dassie Adder is revived...It is alleged an adder of unusually large size exists in South Africa which feeds almost exclusively on Klip Dassie (Coney), and that its bite is certain death.
1917 R. Marloth Dict. of Common Names of Plants 22Dassiebos, Stachys rugosa. Strongly scented half-shrub of the mountains in the central and northern districts.
1965 S. Eliovson S. Afr. Wild Flowers for Garden 192S[alvia] rugosa, Dassiebos This evergreen, hardy perennial has large tapering leaves with a dull, wrinkled surface.
1976 A.P. Brink Instant in Wind 153That first night, she thinks, watching him roast some dried meat and boiling dassiebos for tea: that first night she sat looking at him like this.
1986 S. Afr. Panorama June 30The dassie-rat, a squirrel-like animal, lives in the rocky areas of Namaqualand and Namibia, and its behaviour is similar to that of its unrelated namesake, the dassie or rock hyrax.
1988 C. & T. Stuart Field Guide to Mammals 98Like the dassies the Dassie Rat urinates at specific sites which become stained yellowish-white.
1990 Skinner & Smithers Mammals of Sn Afr. Subregion 233Dassie rats have acquired their colloquial name because, like dassies of the Family Procavidae, they are closely confined to a rocky habitat and have habits that are reminiscent of dassies.
1903 D. Blackburn Burgher Quixote 5The Dassie serpent — that great snake with the head of a rabbit and body of a reptile, only seen about the season of Nachtmaal.
Procavia capensis; also with distinguishing epithet, klipdassie, klip rock, rock dassie; klipdasa;
Heterohyrax brucei; now often with distinguishing epithet yellow-spotted dassie, yellow-spotted rock dassie; klipdasb;
Dendrohyrax arboreus; also with distinguishing epithet, tree dassie (formerly also boom dassiebʊəm-, boom tree, bosch dassie, bosch see bosch, or bush dassie). In these senses, formerly also called das (sense 1 a). Also attributive.
The blacktail, Diplodus sargus capensis.
The steentjie (sense 1 a), Spondyliosoma emarginatum.
The zebra, Diplodus cervinus hottentotus.
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18091992