DSAE test file

dolos, noun

Forms:
Also dollas, doll oss.
Plurals:
unchanged, or dolosse /ˈdɔlɔsə/, dolosses, and formerly dolossen.
Origin:
19th century Afrikaans, Dutch, Show more Etymology unknown; recorded in 19th century Afrikaans (1880) as dollossie knuckle-bone, perhaps adaptation of dobbelos (from Dutch dobbel to gamble + os ox); or from dol mad, wild, or dollen to romp about + os ox; or perhaps adaptation of medical term talus knuckle-bone. Found in modern Xhosa as dolosi dice, divining bones (cf. older Xhosa indawule divining bones).
1. One of a set of carved divining dice, knuckle-bones of various animals, and other objects used by a traditional healer in divination; bone sense 1; dolossie sense 2. Also attributive. See also to throw (the) bones (throw sense 2).
[1860 J. Sanderson in Jrnl of Royal Geog. Soc. XXX. 243I had here a specimen of native divination, performed by casting on the ground four pieces of bone, or horn, of several shapes..called altogether ‘daula.’]
1994 G. Pretorius in Weekend Post 14 May 5We throw the dolosse (a bag containing an assortment of bones, shells, domino pieces and coins) and then tell them what the problem is.
2.
a. The knuckle-bones (or vertebrae) of sheep or goats, formerly used by children as imaginary oxen and in other games; any other bones used similarly; dolossie sense 1 a. Also attributive.
[1900 B.M. Hicks Cape as I Found It 151Out of his (sc. the traditional doctor’s) bag he took his doll-oxen as the bones are called that the children play with.]
1989 D. Briscoe in Motorist Nov. 4Whether it’s the massive sombre hearse of bygone days or a bar of homemade soap or a child’s ‘dolosse’ wagon, there’s a story to be told.
b. Any of several games formerly played by children, using the knuckle-bones of sheep or goats; dolossie sense 1 b.
1974 J.M. Coetzee Dusklands 122The farmer’s son and the servant’s son playing dolosse together in the yard graduating with adulthood into the more austere relation of master and servant.
3. Engineering. [So called from its resemblance to a knuckle- or ankle-bone (see quotations 1970 and 1976).] A large concrete anchor block which, when interlocked with other identical blocks, prevents erosion of the coastline and of harbour walls.
1970 E. Merrifield in Daily Dispatch 25 Mar. 29I wanted a name for the interlocking blocks that would always identify them with South Africa. I chose the name dolosse myself because the shape I designed reminded me of those little bones taken from the ankles of animals that Voortrekker children used to play with, pretending they were oxen (hence the name) and which are still used today by African witchdoctors when they ‘throw the bones.’
1990 E. Prov. Herald 16 Oct. 4Van Greunen..was fishing from the ‘dolosse’ at 3.30pm.
One of a set of carved divining dice, knuckle-bones of various animals, and other objects used by a traditional healer in divination; bone1; dolossie2. Also attributive.
The knuckle-bones (or vertebrae) of sheep or goats, formerly used by children as imaginary oxen and in other games; any other bones used similarly; dolossie1 a. Also attributive.
Any of several games formerly played by children, using the knuckle-bones of sheep or goats; dolossie1 b.
A large concrete anchor block which, when interlocked with other identical blocks, prevents erosion of the coastline and of harbour walls.

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