intombi, noun

Forms:
entombie, intombeShow more Also entombie, intombe, intomebi, ntombi, tumbee, tumbi.
Plurals:
intombies, intombis, or izintombi.
Origin:
Xhosa, ZuluShow more Xhosa and Zulu (plural izintombi).
1. A young woman of marriageable age; a young girl. See also intombazana.
1809 R. Collins in D. Moodie Record (1841) V. 46Cattle are never given for a Tumbee, but her father or brother is supplied with assagays by her keeper.
1833 S. Kay Trav. & Researches 470‘That,’ said he, ‘contains the body of an intombi (young woman) who was killed by lightning from heaven, about two years ago.’
1836 A.F. Gardiner Journey to Zoolu Country 97An unmarried woman is called Intomebi.
1855 G.H. Mason Life with Zulus 228A knot of marriageable young ladies (Entombies), clustering thick about the bride.
1855 J.W. Colenso Ten Weeks in Natal 26There is another special one (sc. reason) for the young men wishing to go home from time to time — namely, to make acquaintance with the intombies, or young women, whom they will one day acquire for wives.
1866 W.C. Holden Past & Future 186The next morning she is pronounced to be an intombi; that is, she is entered into the state of womanhood, and is considered marriageable.
1882 Lady F.C. Dixie In Land of Misfortune 364The remainder of our visit to the kraals was spent in endeavouring to induce some of the Zulu intombes, or girls, to mount into my saddle.
1887 A.A. Anderson 25 Yrs in Waggon II. 177The young Intombies (girls) are all excitement to see their sweethearts so brave.
a1931 S. Black in S. Gray Three Plays 139She is now a big woman..umfazi. Last time she came home from school she was a little intombi.
1947 L. Hastings Dragons Are Extra 118The little girls, the intombis, were busy with bunches of twigs tidying up the huts.
1949 J. Mockford Golden Land 189A few beads and the loin strings suffice for the intombis, the maidens.
1967 O. Walker Hippo Poacher 100The intombis, or young girls, round about made a point of bringing clay pots full of newly-brewed Kaffir beer and baskets of mealie-cobs and wild spinach to trade for meat.
1971 J. McClure Steam Pig (1973) 112‘Hey, Johannes, you old skelm,’ Pop brawled. ‘Don’t tell me you’ve been at the ntombis again?’
1986 Preston-Whyte & Louw in Burman & Reynolds Growing Up 364Indigenously-based forms and processes of political control obtain there, as do some other structural features such as the organization of girls between puberty and marriage (izintombi) into recognized age groups under a designated leader (ighikize).
2. obsolete. see quotation.
1809 R. Collins in G.M. Theal Rec. of Cape Col. (1900) VII. 62It is perhaps only through custom that a couple of tumbies, the name here given to concubines, are attached to his household.
A young woman of marriageable age; a young girl.
see quotation.

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18091986