Dutch, MalayShow more Etymology obscure; perhaps adaptation of Dutch Jood’s visch (modern orthography vis) Jew fish; or from Malay; or an allusion to the biblical Joseph’s many-coloured coat (see quotation 1913).
The elephant fish (see elephant), Callorhinchus capensis.
1795C.R. Hopsontr. ofC.P. Thunberg’s Trav.I. 295Among the various sorts of fish that appeared on the tables at the Cape, were the Chimæra callorynchus (Dodskop or Joseph) the flesh of which is white and well-tasted; and the Raja miraletus (or Rock).
1902J.D.F. Gilchrist inTrans. of S. Afr. Philological Soc.Vol.11No.4, 224 (Pettman)There are a few [names]..for which no plausible derivation can be discovered. These are bafaro, assous, zeverrim, katonkel, joseph, and its variations.
1913C. PettmanAfricanderisms 235Joseph or Josvisch,..How the fish came by its trivial name is not clear. Dr Gilchrist (‘History of the Local Names of Fish’) suggests that ‘it may be a corruption of “Jood’s visch” or “Jews’ fish”. The fishermen of the Cape suggest that the name is derived from the brilliant and varied colours of the living fish.
1918S.H. SkaifeAnimal Life in S. Afr. 203The Joseph, or Josep, is a peculiar fish closely related to the sharks.
1947K.H. BarnardPict. Guide to S. Afr. Fishes 31The Joseph, Josup or Doodskop (Callorhynchus capensis)..is a well-known shallow-water species often brought in by trek-netters. It is also called Elephant-Shark in allusion to the fleshy protuberance on the end of the snout.
1958L.G. GreenS. Afr. Beachcomber 111The name Joseph is a riddle, though I have heard that it is a corruption of Joodvis. Now the Joodsvis is the Jew Fish of Australia, and this in turn is a corruption of Jewel Fish.
1973J.L.B. Smith inStd Encycl. of Sn Afr.IX. 253Of the subclass Holocephli, the josup is a curious creature living in 5–100 fathoms over the whole Southern African region.
1977K.F.R. Budack inA. TraillKhoisan Ling. Studies 3 37Against skin diseases and ulcers, also of a syphilitic nature, the yolks of the eggs of the joseph or Callorhynchus capensis were used.
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