Hottentot, noun and adjective

Hatten-tote, HotantotShow more Also Hatten-tote, Hotantot, Hotentot, Hotnetot, Hottantot, Hottendod, Hottentod, Hottentoo, Hottentote, Ottentoo.
Dutch, GermanShow more Dutch, perhaps from German hotteren-totteren to stutter. ‘The name is generally derived from the term Hüttentüt (“stammerer” or “stutterer”), applied to this people by the early Dutch settlers on account of the peculiar “clicks” which gave their speech its distinctive character.’ (I. Schapera, Khoisan Peoples of S. Afr., 1930, p.44). Some claim that the word is imitative of an incremental dance chant heard by early European visitors at the Cape, see quotation 1696. The relationship between this word and Hodmadod is not clear.
The word ‘Hottentot’ is seen by some as offensive, and Khoikhoi is sometimes substituted as a name for the people, particularly in scholarly contexts. However, use of ‘Hottentot’ does not seem to be avoided in the names of plants, fish, birds, etc. (see e.g. quotation 1994 at sense A 2).
In addition to the senses given below, there are senses of ‘Hottentot’ which have developed outside South Africa and which are used internationally; these will be found in general dictionaries of English.
A. noun
a. Khoikhoi sense 1.
Since early visitors to the Cape seldom distinguished between the Khoikhoi and the San, some of the earlier citations for this sense might belong at sense 3 a.
1677 T. Herbert in R. Raven-Hart Before Van Riebeeck (1967) 119Upon their feet they have a sole or piece of leather tied with a little strap, which while these Hatten-totes were in our company their hands held, their feet having thereby the greater liberty to steal, which with their toes they can do exactly, all the while looking us in the face, the better to deceive.
1991 J. Coulter in Weekend Post 4 May (Leisure) 3The name Hottentot is derived from the chant which accompanied a characteristic dance..which Dutch settlers encouraged homeless Khoikhoi to perform in exchange for liquor.
b. Obs. exc. historical. A member of the Hottentot Corps, a military corps of Khoikhoi soldiers. See also Pandour.
1796 J.H. Craig in G.M. Theal Rec. of Cape Col. (1897) I. 455The Hottentots..must on no account whatever be be guilty of any sort of Insolence or outrage towards the Inhabitants.
1972 N. Orpen in Std Encycl. of Sn Afr. III. 28The Hottentots..became the Cape Corps under the British, and in 1802..became known as the Hottentot Light Infantry.
c. Any of the languages of the Khoikhoi: Khoikhoi sense 2.
1836 A.F. Gardiner Journey to Zoolu Country 102The..terms caross, kraal and assegai..are generally believed to have been a corruption of Dutch and Hottentot.
1986 M. Picardie in S. Gray Market Plays 93Go the time when..talking Malay or Hottentot or Bushman or even Xhosa didn’t matter.
2. In full Hottentot fish: also with small initial [so called because of their predominantly brown, bronze, or copper colouring; but see quotation 1731] any of three species of seabream of the Sparidae, Pachymetopon spp., especially P. blochii. a. P. aeneum; blue fish sense 3 b; bronze bream sense a; John Brown sense b. b. P. blochii; hangberger sense 2 (formerly also called hamburger); rock-fish sense 2. c. The bronze bream (sense b), P. grande. In these senses also called Hotnot (sense 3), and hotnot(s)vis (see Hotnot sense 4).
In Smith and Heemstra’s Smiths' Sea Fishes (1986), the name ‘hottentot’ is used for Pachymetopon blochii, and ‘blue hottentot’ for P. aeneum.
1731 G. Medley tr. of P. Kolben’s Present State of Cape of G.H. II. 196The Cape Europeans call ’em Hottentot Fish. That Name was given ’em by the first Dutch settlers there, on Account of the said Settlers buying some of them of the Hottentots.
1994 SA Commercial Marine Sept.Nov. 32One of the Cape’s many tasty fish, the hottentot, has, because of its nomenclature, become the target of verbal cleansing. Some fisherman have taken to calling them hangbergers or in English, sentinels. Black fish and Cape galjoen to impress unwary northern neighbours has been attempted, but according to the Department of Sea Fisheries, Margaret M Smith’s book South African Sea Fishes remains the definitive work on local names. Fisherman know and identify the fish by this name and there is little likelihood of it being changed...Pachymetopon blochii.
a. Obsolete except in historical contexts Khoisan sense 1.
See note at sense 1 a.
1795 C.R. Hopson tr. of C.P. Thunberg’s Trav. I. 185Hottentots is the common denomination of all those nations which inhabit the southern angle of Africa, and are extended on either side of the Cape of Good Hope...Though they are divided into a multitude of tribes, which differ from one another in many respects, yet it is clearly to be seen that they all originate from one and the same stock.
1983 [see Capoid adj.].
b. Any of the languages of the Khoisan peoples: Khoisan sense 2. Also attributive.
1884 W.D. Whitney Language 341They fall into three groups: the Ethiopian..the Libyan..and the Hottentot, embracing the dialects of the degraded tribes of Hottentots and Bushmen.
1983 S. Afr. Panorama Apr. 33There forests and lakes of Knysna, the numerous rivers with their valleys and strange Hottentot names, and the dense indigenous bush of the Eastern Cape Province.
a. In historical contexts. coloured noun sense a. See also Bastard noun sense 1, Bastard Hottentot.
Offensive to some.
1824 W.J. Burchell Trav. II. 6Beyond this kraal we found..a large proportion of inhabitants..of the race of Mixed-Hottentots.
1988 A. Sher Middlepost 268Pulling at the ropes were the Hottentot and half-caste children of Middlepost.
b. Derogatory and offensive. An insulting form of address or reference to a coloured person. See also sense B 3.
1964 G. Campbell Old Dusty 6If I cannot get some of his yarns out of him, you can call me a Hottentot.
1990 R. Malan in Cosmopolitan Apr. 167He called the white girl a ‘slut’ and demanded to know why she was hanging out with a ‘Hottentot’.
5. rare. [see quotation] A hot drink similar to Irish coffee, made of coffee and whisky.
1987 H. St Blaize-Molony in Style Mar. 54The Plett set’s ‘In’ drink is...Hottentot (hot-in-a-tot), which is Irish coffee without the cream.
6. Special Combinations.
a. Plants and animals:
Hottentot bean, Hottentot bean tree, Hottentot’s bean, Hottentot’s bean tree, the tree Schotia afra of the Fabaceae; also called boerboon;
Hottentot bonnet obsolete, the orchid Disperis capensis of the Orchidaceae; also called moederkappie;
Hottentot bread, Hottentot’s bread [translation of South African Dutch Hottentotsbrood], any of several widely differing plant species, parts of which were formerly used to produce a food resembling bread, especially (a) the bread tree, and (b) the elephant’s foot (see elephant), Dioscorea elephantipes; also, this food;
Hottentot’s cabbage, also Hottentots’ cabbage, any of several plants (Trachyandra spp. of the Liliaceae) with edible asparagus-like inflorescences; also called veldkool, see veld sense 5;
Hottentot’s candle, Bushman’s candle;
Hottentot’s cherry, the shrub Maurocenia frangularia of the Celastraceae;
Hottentot fig, Hottentot’s fig [translation of South African Dutch Hottentotsvijg], the hardy, creeping plant Carpobrotus edulis of the Aizoaceae, with medicinal properties; the edible fruit of this plant; gocum; hotnotsvy, hotnotsvyg, see Hotnot sense 4; also called sour fig; also attributive;
Hottentot god, Hottentots god, also Hottentot God, [translation of South African Dutch Hottentotsgod], any of several species of insect formerly venerated by the Khoisan peoples, especially the praying mantis;
Hottentot head, the cycad Stangeria eriopus of the Stangeriaceae, with a thick turnip-like trunk;
Hottentots rice, (a) Bushman rice; (b) the succulent plant Gasteria nigricans of the Liliaceae;
Hottentot sore obsolete, veld sore (see veld sense 5);
Hottentot’s poison bush, Bushman’s poison;
Hottentot tea, Hottentot’s tea, Bushman’s tea;
Hottentot teal, the small duck Anas hottentota of the Anatidae, with blue bill, spotted breast and back, and head dark above, light below;
Hottentot watermelon obsolete, kambro.
1801 J. Barrow Trav. I. 188The Hottentot’s bean: This plant is the African lignum vitæ, the guajacum Afrum of Linnæus and the Schotia speciosa of the Hortus Kewensis.
1796 C.R. Hopson tr. of C.P. Thunberg’s Trav. II. 135I heard..of a Hottentot Watermelon..a large and succulent root, called Kou by the Hottentots, who grind it down to meal, and bake it like bread.
b. Products of the Khoikhoi:
Hottentot beer obs., honey-beer.
1821 G. Barker Journal. 2 JuneOne of the people had been drinking..hottentot beer, made from honey.
[1976 A.P. Brink Instant in Wind 105Men..drinking tea or the Hottentot beer of honey and gli-roots.]
c. Physiological features associated with the Khoikhoi:
Hottentot apron, Hottentot’s apron, an excessive elongation of the labia minora in Khoikhoi women; apron sense 2.
1797 [see sense B 1].
1992 P. Cullinan Robert Jacob Gordon 25 (caption)François le Vaillant’s drawing of the much disputed ‘Hottentot apron’.
B. Attributive and as adjective
1. Of or pertaining to the Khoikhoi or Khoisan peoples.
1718 Entertainer No.28, 187The Spiritual is reduc’d to a Hottentot Way of Government.
1977 R. Elphick Kraal & Castle 14Hottentot culture is still recognizably Bushman in all its basic patterns, and its deviations are about the minimum to be expected in a hunting people adapting to a more stable pastoral economy.
2. Often pejorative. Indigenous; inviting contempt, inferior.
1828 J. Philip Researches I. p.xviiiThe missionaries..were called..‘Hottentot predicants’ (ministers), by way of contempt.
1988 C. Marais in Personality 19 Dec. 34In the old days a Cape Dutch house was considered second grade, and dubbed ‘The Hottentot Style’. Nowadays..the sweep and flow of Hottentot Style is being used in many urban centres around the country.
3. Derogatory and offensive. Of or pertaining to one of mixed ethnic origin (see sense A 4 b).
1986 M. Picardie in S. Gray Market Plays 87You Hottentot rubbish..You Bushman piece of dirt...You are not fit to judge..this Afrikaner.
A member of the Hottentot Corps, a military corps of Khoikhoi soldiers.
Any of the languages of the Khoikhoi: Khoikhoi2.
any of three species of seabream of the Sparidae, Pachymetopon spp., especially P. blochii.
P. aeneum; blue fish3 b; bronze breama; John Brownb.
P. blochii; hangberger2 (formerly also called hamburger); rock-fish2.
The bronze bream (sense b), P. grande. In these senses also called Hotnot (sense 3), and hotnot(s)vis (see Hotnot4).
Any of the languages of the Khoisan peoples: Khoisan2. Also attributive.
An insulting form of address or reference to a coloured person.
A hot drink similar to Irish coffee, made of coffee and whisky.
Of or pertaining to the Khoikhoi or Khoisan peoples.
Indigenous; inviting contempt, inferior.
Of or pertaining to one of mixed ethnic origin (see A 4 b).