European, noun and & adjective

EnglishShow more Special senses of general English European (one) from Europe.
The word changed gradually from the usual English meaning; in some citations, especially early ones, it is difficult to tell which sense is intended. The term ‘white’ has now almost completely displaced ‘European’ in South African English.
A. noun A white person; for a period, the official term used for a white person. Cf. non-European noun.
1696 J. Ovington Voy. to Suratt 293Three and Thirty, Slaves, besides Europeans, are daily imply’d in looking after it (sc. the Company’s garden).
1731 G. Medley tr. of P. Kolben’s Present State of Cape of G.H. II. 353The White of the Eyes of Numbers of Europeans and Negroes at the Cape take, in that Season, a very fiery Red.
1790 W. Paterson Narr. of Four Journeys 90About eight in the evening we met three Caffres who were much surprised at our appearance, as we were certainly the first Europeans they had ever seen.
1820 W. Shaw Diary. 25 Dec.Alas in Graham’s Town there is no Minister not even for the Europeans, and both classes are generally speaking sunk very low in drunkenness, lewdness, and other deadly sins.
1847 J. Barrow Autobiog. Memoir 209The Hottentot considers the lion his most formidable enemy, and is quite certain that he will single him out to be devoured in preference to an European.
1871 J. McKay Reminisc. 209It was native against native — Fingoe against Kafir; while we, the lords of the colony — the Europeans — sat perched on the rocky crags above, looking down at the dexterity of both sides.
1900 Grocott’s Penny Mail 31 Oct. 1 (advt)Wanted. An Experienced Housemaid. European preferred.
1911 L. Cohen Reminisc. of Kimberley 419Most of the sufferers were Cape boys, but some of them were white enough to be Europeans, which perhaps they were.
1925 D. Kidd Essential Kafir 151All search proved fruitless: no native would give information of a black man to the Europeans.
1941 Bantu World 15 Feb. 9Benoni Magistrate’s court on January 31 was crowded to the doors with Europeans, Asiatics, Coloureds and Bantu.
1949 C. Bullock Rina 9She was Coloured; and..she would not attempt to associate on an equality with a South African European.
1950 S. Afr. Law Reports IV. 200In South Africa a person is a European or white person when he is such by appearance and habits and he is not proved by descent not to be predominantly of European blood.
1952 Drum Aug. 11An American visitor’s first dose of the apartheid pill is the startling discovery that in this country an American can also be a European.
1959 L. Longmore Dispossessed 317All white people in South Africa, whether or not born in Europe, are referred to as Europeans.
1960 J.J.L. Sisson S. Afr. Judicial Dict. 258A European is a person who is white as a racial quality, and from a racial point of view, that is, who belongs to a white race;..a non-European, on the other hand, is a person who is not white from a racial point of view and as a racial quality; that is, he does not belong to a white race.
1960 Rand Daily Mail in J. Crwys-Williams S. Afr. Despatches (1989) 325Five of the six Europeans entombed are married men, and are all South Africans. The other is a young Hungarian.
1964 N. Nakasa in J. Crwys-Williams S. Afr. Despatches (1989) 345I don’t see that there is any justification in calling me a non-European...That is as silly as this business of South African Whites who insist that they are Europeans.
1980 D.B. Coplan Urbanization of African Performing Arts. p.xiThe term ‘European,’ a synonym for White in South African usage, appears only rarely to avoid confusion between South African Whites and present or past native inhabitants of the continent of Europe.
1990 Sunday Times 18 Feb. 12Mr Mandela..refers to ‘Europeans’ and ‘Africans’, the terminology in use when he was arrested and began his exile in August 1962. But he corrects himself immediately.
1990 O. Musi in City Press 17 June 9There are still some hospital administrations..who think there are citizens of this country who are called ‘Europeans’...They stress ‘European staff only please’.
1990 G. Slovo Ties of Blood 287One of the multi-faceted signals of apartheid: ‘Europeans only’ it said — ‘slegs vir blankes’.
1990 [see larney n. sense 1].
B. adjective Denoting a white person; of, pertaining to, or used by white people. Cf. non-European adjective.
1731 G. Medley tr. of P. Kolben’s Present State of Cape of G.H. II. 335The European women at the Cape suffer but little in Travail...Women born in Europe, and brought to Bed at the Cape, have altogether as happy a Time as the Women born in the Settlements.
1818 G. Barker Journal. 20 Sept.I preached at Grahams town. In the morning in English to the European soldiers..& in the afternoon to the Hottentot soldiers in Dutch.
1833 Graham’s Town Jrnl 21 Mar. 3To secure the Subscribers against the losses to which Breeders are at present exposed, from the recklessness of colored servants, it is proposed that..none but European Shepherds will be employed by the Association.
1857 F.W. Reitz in Cape Monthly Mag. II. Oct. 194Of the white or European population..I think it would be possible to get perfectly accurate and reliable returns.
1882 Tvl Advertiser 14 Jan. 1It shall be our endeavour to as far as possible abate the prejudices now existing between the European races.
1897 F.R. Statham S. Afr. as It Is 16The doctrine was inculcated that, unless the European populations of South Africa could be bound together by some form of federated government, they were in danger of being obliterated by a general and combined rising of natives.
1936 R.J.M. Goold-Adams S. Afr. To-Day & To-Morrow 32The often forgotten division of the black races into those who live in their own villages among their own people,..and those, the other half, who live in European cities or on European farms.
1947 Argus in J. Crwys-Williams S. Afr. Despatches (1989) 291The throng in Adderley-street..represented all sections of South Africa’s European and non-European community.
1952 B. Davidson Report on Sn Afr. 59This was my first glimpse of a Native Reserve. The good land round Zastron is of course ‘European’.
1956 N. Gordimer in D. Wright S. Afr. Stories (1960) 74I can’t remember, y’know, about buses. I keep getting put off European buses.
1963 L.F. Freed Crime in S. Afr. 73The prevalence of crime in the European residential area of Johannesburg studied..with reference to its distribution.
1985 Cape Times 7 Jan. (Jobfinder) 13 (advt)Accounts Clerk. Mature European lady, 35 to 45, with debtors, cash book, general office experience.
1990 R. Gool Cape Town Coolie 63The Smuts government..made Indians owning property in European areas a bad thing — very, very bad.
1990 [see Musi quot. at sense A].
A white person; for a period, the official term used for a white person.
Denoting a white person; of, pertaining to, or used by white people.
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