Dutch, English, South African English, AfrikaansShow more Calque formed on Dutch fontein spring. Formerly used in general English, but now archaic: the word’s continued and habitual use in this sense in South African English is reinforced by Afrikaans fontein.
1802W. SomervilleNarr. of E. Cape Frontier (1979) 67The partridge fountain (so called from the multitudes of Namaqua partridges that frequent it to drink the brine).
1824W.J. BurchellTrav.II. 307We passed a fountain of clear water, in which stood a few reeds. This fountain or spring, though not copious enough to produce a stream, formed a small pond which had the appearance of being constantly supplied with water.
1827G. ThompsonTrav. 118Though somewhat disturbed by the wild animals assembling at the fountain to drink, we were left unmolested.
1834E. Cook inB. ShawMemorials (1841) 170The spot on which we met was near to a fountain of water, and was shaded by a camel-thorn tree; two of the most important things which this barren country produces.
1841B. ShawMemorials 102The Fountain appears to be of considerable strength: but the water is somewhat sweet, yet good for use.
1857D. LivingstoneMissionary Trav. 110Mr Moffat..made a dam..and led out the stream for irrigation, where not a drop of fountain-water ever now flows.
1867Blue Bk for Col. 1866 JJ5The scarcity of water on many farms is still felt; but the farmers are busy in making dams, and some fountains have been opened.
1882J. NixonAmong Boers 139The garden was irrigated from a fountain of beautiful water near the house.
1882Meteor 31 Oct. 3In spring, when the rains have replenished every fountain, innumerable tiny cascades are trickling from the picturesque hills.
1890A. MartinHome Life 77It would be necessary to choose a farm possessing a good fountain; thus a constant supply of vegetables could be kept up.
1916Farmer’s Weekly 20 Dec. 1455 (advt)Abundant water supply, consisting of a large dam, permanent fountain, and a spruit running through the farm.
1936Cambridge Hist. of Brit. EmpireVIII. 9There is..little doubt that the flow of the rivers has become more irregular, that many ‘fountains’ have dried up, and that the vegetation in different regions has deteriorated.
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