field, noun

Origin:
EnglishShow more Special senses of general English.
1. obsolete. [Influenced by Dutch veld.] veld sense 2 a i. Also attributive.
1812 A. Plumptre tr. of H. Lichtenstein’s Trav. in Sn Afr. (1928) I. 30The house was too small.., so some of our tents were set up, and here we commenced sleeping in the field.
1827 G. Thompson Trav. 358A man on the death of his wife is considered unclean...He is not allowed to enter any kraal or dwelling, but must remain in the field..until the period of separation is expired.
1838 J.E. Alexander Exped. into Int. I. 49In a sheltered nook among the hills were two large circular huts...This was the field residence of Mynheer Nieuwoud.
1841 J. Tindall Jrnl (1959) A host of wild dogs infested the field which rendered it necessary to drive our almost worn out cattle to the kraal in the evening.
1921 H.J. Mandelbrote tr. of O.F. Mentzel’s Descr. of Cape of G.H. I. 57Oxen..damage the grain by soiling with fluid dung after..being driven about in the field.
2. In historical contexts. Usually with initial capital and in the plural, in the phrase the Fields.
a. Elliptical for the diamond fields (see diamond fields).
1871 The Jrnl 9 Jan.What can a British commissioner, or a special magistrate, under a queer Act of Parliament, do for the Fields?
1879 E.L. Price Jrnls (1956) 340We have to seek a new driver & leader here, as old Afrika only engaged to come as far as ‘The Fields’.
1880 Cape Monthly Mag. II. 188It took thirty days from Graham’s Town to the Fields...After helping my employer to load off and get out of the Fields, we parted.
1880 Cape Monthly Mag. II. 190The Fields — that El Dorado of the brave-hearted, energetic, and industrious.
1887 J.W. Matthews Incwadi Yami 115In the early days of the Fields the gambling spirit so infatuated many of the diggers, that..they would prolong the accidents of fortune far into the night.
1895 Jewish Chronicle in Saron & Hotz Jews in S. Afr. (1955) 109There was in those early days no local buying on the fields. All stones had to be sent to Cape Town.
1910 J. Angove In Early Days 127The opening of the telegraph line to Kimberley would be one of the red-letter days in the history of the Fields.
1931 G. Beet Grand Old Days 16The Fields were..found to consist of parched, hard soil and gravel, and big boulders, some weighing many tons, while the diamonds, instead of being placed..conspicuously on the tops of the boulders..were hidden well down under them.
1944 J. Mockford Here Are S. Africans 92Rhodes swept all the individual fortune-hunters into the co-operative of his monster joint-stock company which thereafter exploited the fields with a well-ordered and almost prosaic economy.
1965 D. Rooke Diamond Jo 46On the Fields you can get any price for blankets and clothes, flour too.
1972 A.A. Telford Yesterday’s Dress 160The discovery of diamonds in South Africa in 1866, brought fortune seekers from all over the world to the Fields.
1991 Flying Springbok May 122He watched the diamond-hungry travellers making their way to the Kimberley fields.
b. rare. The gold fields of the Transvaal.
1890 C. & A.P. Wilson-Moore Diggers’ Doggerel 67We talked together of things on the fields, And then he stood me a gin.
1893 Joruhtra in Cape Illust. Mag. Apr. 294I..came over this morning to have a look at the fields.
1897 J.P. Fitzpatrick Outspan 186Two lucky diggers had passed through Newcastle from the fields, going home.
veld2 a i. Also attributive.
Elliptical for the diamond fieldsdiamond fields.
The gold fields of the Transvaal.
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18121991