fontein, noun

Forms:
Also fonteyn.
Plurals:
fonteins, fonteine.
Origin:
Dutch
1.
a. fountain. Also attributive.
[1786 G. Forster tr. of A. Sparrman’s Voy. to Cape of G.H. I. 321In a marshy place..a place full of land-springs, (fontein grond) he had observed pretty distinct vestiges of elephants.]
1837 N. Polson Subaltern’s Sick Leave 90From the Braak River a good day’s work with tired and thirsty oxen will bring the traveller to a small spring or ‘fontein’, at the western end of a conical hill called the Roode Berg.
1849 R. Gray Jrnls of Two Visitations I. 80Where there is a ‘fontein’, there are patches of arable land covered with luxuriant crops.
1882 J. Nixon Among Boers 121Not far from the house was a ‘fontein’ of clear fresh water, which..had never been known to fail in the severest drought...This fontein..had induced him to purchase the farm.
1904 H.A. Bryden Hist. of S. Afr. 108The Boers..planted fruit orchards, into which they led irrigation furrows from the nearest spring, or fontein.
1924 S.G. Millin God’s Step-Children 70When they came across a likely looking bit of ground..beside a natural spring (which they called a fontein), they would outspan their oxen.
1937 C.R. Prance Tante Rebella’s Saga 141Suikerboswoestyn’s ‘fontein’ was that year ‘backwards in coming forward’.
1955 L.G. Green Karoo 82The old Hottentot who lived there beside the fontein a century and a half ago was a certain Konstabel.
1968 K. McMagh Dinner of Herbs 48The farm Platrug was the most unpromising of all for..it had no water — no spring, no fontein.
1976 R. Ross Adam Kok’s Griquas 43Where possible, the fonteins were led out to allow cultivation, mainly of wheat.
b. An element in place names, signifying the (former) presence of a natural spring, e.g. Bloemfontein, Fonteintjiesberg, Garsfontein, Matjiesfontein.
[1822 W.J. Burchell Trav. I. 259In dry countries, any circumstance relating to water, is of sufficient importance to distinguish that place. Thus it is that the Dutch word Fontein is made such liberal use of in every part of the Colony: the Hottentot word Kamma (water), is not less frequently found in the composition of the aboriginal names.]
1916 L.D. Flemming Fool on Veld (1933) 1Seventy-five percent of the farms are ‘fonteins’, with a prefix, generally denoting the number of ‘fonteins’ upon it...There must have been a good many more fonteins in the old days than there are now.
1924 S.G. Millin God’s Step-Children 70They would call the place..after themselves, ‘Potgietersfontein’.
1987 K. Berman in Weekly Mail 19 June 19Towns that are mere pinpricks on the map..each one..ending in the suffix ‘fontein’.
1988 Flying Springbok June 22South Africa has some 60 communities and railway sidings with names ending in ‘fontein’. Most are remote, situated in the drier areas (and most of the actual springs have long since dried up).
1989 P.E. Raper Dict. of Sn Afr. Place Names 515Sterkfontein Caves,..The first adult skull of Australopithecus was discovered there in 1936, and in 1948 Robert Broom found ‘Mrs Ples’, or Sterkfontein hominid 5, an almost perfect cranium.
1989 T. Botha in Style June 112On my map I check the route for tomorrow...Zevenfontein, at least two dozen other fonteins, Geluk and Paradys.
2. combination
fonteinbos /-bɔs/ [Afrikaans bos bush], either of two shrubby aromatic plants, Psoralea aphylla or P. pinatta, usually found growing near running water or springs.
1963 S. Cloete Rags of Glory 522They splashed through a little river of brown water edged with lilies, the air sweet with the honey scent of fonteinbos.
1966 C.A. Smith Common Names 217Fonteinbos, Psoralea aphylla and P. pinnata...Shrubs up to 12 ft high; leaves aromatic; flowers blue. Almost invariably found growing in the vicinity of running water and springheads.
fountain. Also attributive.
An element in place names, signifying the (former) presence of a natural spring, e.g. Bloemfontein, Fonteintjiesberg, Garsfontein, Matjiesfontein.
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17861989

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