haak-en-steek, noun

Origin:
AfrikaansShow more Afrikaans, haak hook + en and + steek stab.
a. The large, flat-topped deciduous thorn tree Acacia tortilis of the Fabaceae, bearing both curved and straight thorns; umbrella thorn. Also attributive. b. A thorn from this tree. In both senses also called wag-’n-bietjie.
1880 [see haakdoring sense 1].
1900 F.R.M. Cleaver in M.M. Cleaver Young S. Afr. (1913) 69It may be..that the thorn, on which he sits, is a dubbeltje, a haak-en-steek, a driedoorn-haak, a wacht-a-beetje, a krap-en-scheur, a duivel’s jaap, or a klits-en-klauw. But to me such distinctions are trivial.
1905 J. Du Plessis 1000 Miles in Heart of Afr. 139The haak-en-steek doorns..tear your garments and lacerate your skin, especially when you are in eager pursuit of game and unmindful of your pathway.
1948 O. Walker Kaffirs Are Lively 76We sighted his white tent-tops above the haakensteek — hook-and-stick — thorn bushes long before we reached him.
1951 H.C. Bosman in L. Abrahams Bekkersdal Marathon (1971) 123I’ll be glad to show you all over my farm where I’m not going to plant potatoes...That is, among the haak-en-steek thorns.
1977 F.G. Butler Karoo Morning 40The haak-en-steek presented a consistent friendly green. You had to walk into one to experience its camouflaged malice: not only did it have a straight thorn to prick your flesh, but a hooked thorn to grab you and not let you go.
1983 T. Baron in Frontline June 29The Zulus say that this is the main reason for the bad temper of the black rhinoceros who has to start off each morning feeling prickly from last night’s dinner of haak-en-steek.
[1993 Getaway Nov. 76 (caption)The spreading crowns of umbrella thorn trees Acacia tortilis...Despite the fearsome combination of straight and hooked thorns that give them the Afrikaans name of haak-en-steek, the tiny leaves are well loved by all browsers.]
The large, flat-topped deciduous thorn tree Acacia tortilis of the Fabaceae, bearing both curved and straight thorns; umbrella thorn. Also attributive.
A thorn from this tree. In both senses also called wag-’n-bietjie.

Visualise Quotations

Quotation summary

Senses

19001993