eat, verb transitive

Origin:
Xhosa, Zulu, South African English, EnglishShow more Translation of Xhosa and Zulu dla eat, consume, impose a fine; the use of this phrase in South African English seems to have arisen independently of the general English use of a similar phrase which appeared long before this:
obs. except in historical contexts
In the phrase to eat up.
To punish (someone, especially one accused of witchcraft) by taking possession of all his or her property and cattle; to exterminate (a people or group); to destroy (the crops or possessions of a people or group); to send a punitive expedition against (a people or group).
1827 G. Thompson Trav. 202They were coming to eat up the corn and cattle of the Bechuanas, and..afterwards they would proceed against the Macooas (white people) in the south.
1972 A. Scholefield Wild Dog Running 134Far to the north-east of us Chaka, King of the Zulus, was ‘eating up’ the tribes that surrounded him.
To punish (someone, especially one accused of witchcraft) by taking possession of all his or her property and cattle; to exterminate (a people or group); to destroy (the crops or possessions of a people or group); to send a punitive expedition against (a people or group).
Derivatives:
Hence eating up verbal noun phrase, the appropriation by a chief or his people of the possessions of an individual, clan, or tribe in disfavour. Also attributive.
1836 A.G. Bain Jrnls (1949) 185I sent the prisoner to Fort Cox to Capt. Stretch requesting him, should there be any ‘eating up’ in this case, to give Makaluma a mouthful.
1885 H. Rider Haggard King Solomon’s Mines 192The ‘eating up’ of your kraals shall cease; each one of you shall sleep secure in his own hut and fear not.

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18271972

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