South African Dutch, Portuguese, Old French, Show more South African Dutch, perhaps introduced by seamen from Portuguese despensa pantry; or from Old French despense (cf. Latin dispendere to distribute).
A larder, pantry, or storeroom for provisions.
The shortened form ‘spens’ is now current in Afrikaans.
1913C. PettmanAfricanderisms 145Dispens or Spens, (L. dispendere to distribute.) The cupboard or pantry in which the household stores are kept and from which they are dispensed...Compare Chaucer’s ‘All vinolent as botel in the spence’ (Somner’s Tale).
1927C.G. BothaSocial Life in Cape Col. 31Rooms led off from the dining-room to bed-rooms, also to the ‘dispens’ or provision room now called a pantry, which was the pride of the housewife who kept on the shelves many bottles of confitures and fruit.
1969D. ChildYesterday’s Children 27At the back the two wings of the dwelling partially enclosed a paved courtyard. One wing contained the nurseries, and the other the dispens (pantry) and the kombuis (kitchen).
1980Cape Times 30 Aug. (advt)Authentic Victorian charm in select oak lined avenue...Large kitchen, spens and breakfast room.
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