hands-upper, noun

Forms:
Also handsapper.
Origin:
AfrikaansShow more Probably from Afrikaans hensopper, see hensopper.
1. In historical contexts
a. A derogatory term used by the Boers of those who surrendered to the British forces during the Anglo-Boer War; handup, see hands-up; handsopper sense 1; hensopper sense 1 a. Also attributive. Cf. bitter-ender.
1901 in E. Hobhouse Brunt of War (1902) 268The ‘hands uppers’ here in the camp, with the exception of three, have turned British subjects now by promising to take the oath of allegiance; I always bore an ill-feeling towards them, but now I simply loathe them.
1987 W. Steenkamp Blockhouse 47‘We aren’t hands-uppers like some people.’ ‘No,’ Van As agreed...‘We’re bitter-enders, that’s what we are.’
b. joiner sense 1.
1937 C.R. Prance Tante Rebella’s Saga 35By his breeches and leggings he must be a khaki-Englander; and when he remonstrated in Afrikaans she denounced him as a renegade and ‘hands-upper’ which is even worse.
1979 [see Pakenham quot. at joiner sense 1].
2. Figurative and transferred sense. One who changes allegiance for questionable reasons; a fence-sitter; handsopper sense 2; hensopper sense 2.
1941 J.C. Smuts in C. Birkby Springbok VictoryIntroduction, A nation is never proud of its ‘hands-uppers,’ its fence-sitters, its players for safety. We South Africans reserve our respect and pride for the bitter-enders, for those who go all out.
A derogatory term used by the Boers of those who surrendered to the British forces during the Anglo-Boer War; handup, see hands-up; handsopper1; hensopper1 a. Also attributive.
joiner1.
One who changes allegiance for questionable reasons; a fence-sitter; handsopper2; hensopper2.

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19011987