Karoo, noun

Forms:
Karroo, CaroShow more Also Karroo; formerly Caro, Caroo, Carouw, Carro, Carroo, Carrow, Karo, Karro, and with small initial.
Origin:
KhoikhoiShow more Adaptation of Khoikhoi karo-, karro, garo hard, dry, or !gar-b desert.
Note:
The spelling Karoo may be seen as a compromise between the Afrikaans form Karo and a common English form, Karroo.
1.
a. The vast, arid inland plateau extending from Langeberg in the south to Cradock, Pearston, Somerset East and Venterstad in the east and northwards into the Orange Free State; any tract of Karoo-like desert land. Also attributive.
Note:
The original Karoo probably lay entirely within the former Cape Province. Its boundaries are determined by the dominance of xerophytic vegetation and are in a constant movement outwards as desert encroaches on farming land.
1776 F. Masson in Phil. Trans. of Royal Soc. LXVI. 287On each side of this river lies an extraordinary track of land, which in the Hottentot language is called Carro.
1786 G. Forster tr. of A. Sparrman’s Voy. to Cape of G.H. II. 125These large birds were..chiefly to be found in such tracts of country as partook of the properties of the carrow, and produced succulent plants.
1790 W. Paterson Narr. of Four Journeys 44We proceeded through what the Dutch call Karo, the soil of which is a soft friable loam, chiefly producing succulent plants, and a few dwarf shrubs.
1790 tr. of F. Le Vaillant’s Trav. II. 357The dry plains of Carouw begin in this place.
1822 W.J. Burchell Trav. I. 81The hottest parts of the colony are to be found in those barren plains which are distinguished by the general appellation of Karro.
a1823 J. Ewart Jrnl (1970) 34Betwixt the Zwarteberg and Nieuveldt or last great chain, extend the immense arid deserts called by the Hottentot name of Karroo.
1833 S. Afr. Almanac & Dir. 167Namaqualand..includes a great extent of Caroo-plain.
[1841 B. Shaw Memorials 68On leaving the banks of the Elephant River, we commenced our journey in the Karree or arid desert.]
1900 J.B. Atkins Relief of Ladysmith 43The kopjes and the great flat sandy karroo have a strain of deformity in their nature.
1920 K.M. Jeffreys tr. of Memorandum of Commissary J.A. de Mist 195A series of barren deserts and karoos, on which not a morsel of food can be found for man or beast.
1948 H.V. Morton In Search of S. Afr. 246The Karoo — a Hottentot word which means ‘dry place’ — is an arid plateau lower than the plains of the Free State, lying within the Cape Province.
1971 S. Afr. Panorama Sept. 27The Karoo, the semi-arid but healthy plateau that covers nearly one-third of South Africa’s interior, and which supports the world’s second-largest sheep population.
1990 Philatelic Bulletin 1 Nov.The Khoi word karoo means thirsty land, but many million years ago the Karoo was a lush jungle in which awesome mammal-like reptiles roamed. Their fossiled remains..earned the Karoo a special place in palaeontology.
1993 Getaway Nov. 13 (letter)Those trucks pound through the Karoo town night and day.
b. With distinguishing epithet designating a region or sub-division of the Karoo:
Bokkeveld Karoo, see Bokkeveld ;
Great Karoo [tr. Afrikaans groot great], the main plateau north of the Swartberg ;
Klein Karoo /ˈkleɪn/ [Afrikaans klein little] and translation Little Karoo, the southern portion of the Karoo, lying mainly between the Langeberg and the Swartberg; also attributive.
1790 W. Paterson Narr. of Four Journeys 45The people informed us of the danger of crossing the Great Karo, not only from its being a desert country, but also from parties of the Boshmen Hottentots, who were at war with the Dutch.
1809 R. Collins in G.M. Theal Rec. of Cape Col. (1900) VII. 119Whoever reads the accounts that have been published of travels through the colony of the Cape, must be impressed with ideas of the Great Karoo.
1812 A. Plumptre tr. of H. Lichtenstein’s Trav. in Sn Afr. (1928) I. 112The great Karroo, as it is called, a parched and arid plain, stretching out to such an extent that the vast hills by which it is terminated are almost lost in the distance.
1828 T. Pringle Ephemerides 89The Great Karroo is an uninhabitable wilderness, about 300 miles long by 80 broad, forming an elevated plain, or tract of table land, between the great ridges of the Zwartbergen..and Sneeubergen.
1836 Penny Cyclopaedia VI. 257The Great Karroo is one of the most barren and desolate spots imaginable.
1847 J. Barrow Autobiog. Memoir 147At the head of the Hex River valley, we were to take leave of every human habitation for at least sixteen days, the usual time required to cross the dreary and barren desert known by the name of the Great karroo, on which nothing..is to be had except ostrich eggs and antelopes.
1900 H.C. Hillegas Oom Paul’s People 4Farther inland is the Great Karroo, a desert of sombre renown.
1955 L.G. Green Karoo 11It must have been a drought year when the fist Hottentot tribes migrating southwards gazed on the Great Karoo for the first time. They named these plains Garob, meaning dry, unfruitful, uninhabited.
1985 J. Deacon in S. Afr. Panorama Sept. 30Thus did the Reverend..christen this oasis (sc. Bethesda) in the wilderness of South Africa’s Great Karoo.
1971 S. Western Herald 14 Aug. 5An American bird lover is one up on ostrich farmers, nowadays confined to the Klein Karoo only.
1987 E. Prov. Herald 6 May 9The neglect of the Klein Karoo..could play a major part in the result.
1844 J. Backhouse Narr. of Visit 112This country is called the Little Karroo or Kanneland.
1948 H.V. Morton In Search of S. Afr. 117The best mutton in South Africa is raised on the small moisture-holding vygies of the Little Karoo and the Great Karoo.
1951 Off. Yr Bk of Union No. 25, 1949 (Union Office of Census & Statistics) 331The little Karroo, stretching from the first mountain range to the Zwartberg, has a greater altitude, more severe climate and an average rainfall of 8 to 12 inches.
1975 J.P.H. Acocks Veld Types 61Justice cannot..be done to the Little Karoo flora.
1992 T. Van Rensburg in S. Afr. Panorama Mar.Apr. 8The agricultural potential of the area is low, with the exception of the Little Karoo which has become famous for its ostrich farms.
2. In full Karoo bush: noncount, or with plural Karoo bushes (any of) numerous species of scrub-like bushes occurring in the Karoo, especially those of the genera Chrysocoma and Pentzia; also called sweet Karoo. See also berggansie (berg sense 1 b ii), bitter Karoo, skaapbos.
Note:
Some species are toxic, semi-toxic, or noxious weeds; others are invaluable as grazing.
1835 A. Steedman Wanderings I. 98A dry, sunburnt plain; not a single vestige of vegetation was anywhere to be seen, except the karroo bush, almost as brown and barren as the ground on which it grew.
1843 Cape of G.H. Almanac & Annual Register 387This grazing is principally heath known by the name of Karroo.
1852 M.B. Hudson S. Afr. Frontier Life 236The Karroo is a heathery shrub, and affords very good grazing for cattle, and stock that are used to it, but it must not be compared to grass.
1863 J.S. Dobie S. Afr. Jrnl (1945) 120The Karoo bush is about the size of heather, growing more or less thickly together, and is of a dark dusky green.
1872 The Jrnl 9 July 1The Veld consists of the much-sought-after Karoo, Vygebosch, Granaat, Brakbosch.
1896 R. Wallace Farming Indust. of Cape Col. 80Most of the valuable Karoo bushes give off a sweet aromatic perfume when bruised between the fingers, and the flavour appears to be agreeable to the palates of herbivorous animals.
1908 F.C. Slater Sunburnt South 72Wandering airs of night, laden with pungent odours of Karroo-bush, began to whisper with tremulous solemnity over the desolate wilderness.
1916 Farmer’s Weekly 20 Dec. 1468Thousands of morgen of veld, which consists of the best grass and karroo, with water for stock in all parts.
1920 E.H.L. Schwarz Kalahari; or, Thirstland Redemption 17Most botanists maintain that the Karroo bushes are of such a peculiar type, that they must have taken untold ages to acquire their adaptive modifications.
1926 M. Nathan S. Afr. from Within 208The characteristic vegetation of the Karoo is the Karoo bush, a drought-resisting shrub, which, though uninviting in appearance, is wonderfully nutritious to sheep.
1938 F.C. Slater Trek 51On both sides of the Orange ‘mixed-karroo,’ Grass and karroo-bush, close together grew. But farther North ‘karroo’ was counted out.
1949 J. Mockford Golden Land 216The veld maintained its strength because the game trekked with the growth and decline of grass and the Karoo bush.
1958 A. Jackson Trader on Veld 37These animals..thrived on the brown, lifeless karroo when every other animal starved.
1972 Grocott’s Mail 3 Mar. 4The veld consists of mixed Karroo and Sweet Grass.
1985 S. Afr. Panorama Oct. 41Hardy Karoo bushes, so numerous that Afrikaners changed the Dutch saying ‘money like water,’ to ‘money like bushes’, are made for grazing.
1990 Weekend Post 13 Oct. 7Autumn rains which promote Karoo bush growth for small stock did not materialise and they are approaching summer with depleted veld and reserves.
3. combinations and Special Combinations
Karoo ash colloquial, burnt kraal manure used as a fertilizer;
Karoo beds Geology, geological strata comprised of sandstone and volcanic matter, and believed to date from the Triassic period;
Karoo caterpillar, the larva of the Karoo moth, Loxostege frustralis of the Pyralidae, which destroys Karoo grazing veld; also attributive; see also rusper;
Karoo chat, the small bird Cercomela schlegelii, predominantly grey in colour;
Karoo coal colloquial, Free State coal (see Free State adjectival phrase sense 2);
Karoo field [calque formed on South African Dutch Karo veld], Karoo veld, see below;
Karoo ground Geology, a yellow soil containing sand, clay, and particles of iron;
Karoo korhaan, see korhaan sense 1 b;
Karoo oyster colloquial, Karoo lamb’s liver wrapped in fat;
Karoo quick grass [see quick], the grass Cynodon incompletus of the Poaceae;
Karoo syndrome Pathology, see quotation;
Karoo series, Karoo System Geology, the (structure and formation of the) geological strata characteristic of the Karoo but extending beyond it; also in elliptical form Karoo, sometimes used attributively to allude to the era in which this system was formed; see also Dwyka, Ecca;
Karoo thorn, the sweet thorn, Acacia karroo;
Karoo veld /-felt/ [Afrikaans veld field, land], parched land typical of the Karoo, or the drought-resistant vegetation such land supports.
1925 Off. Yr Bk of Union No. 7, 1924 (Union Office of Census & Statistics) 458Potassic fertilizers are imported in the shape of slats of potash, and there is also a considerable production in the Union, burnt kraal manure (‘Karroo ash’) being largely utilized in this connection.
1937 Handbk for Farmers (Dept of Agric. & Forestry) 623Karroo Ash is the name commonly given to the ash obtained by burning kraal manure on the sheep farms of the drier areas, notably the Karroo.
1876 Encycl. Brit. V. 42The ‘Karoo beds..are believed from the abundance of fossil wood and fresh-water shells to be of lacustrine origin.
1886 H.C. Lewis in Papers on Diamond (1897) 7The diamond-bearing pipes [at Kimberley] penetrate strata of Triassic age which are known as the Karoo beds.
1961 Webster’s Third Internat. Dict. I. 1233Karroo caterpillar,..the larva of a pyralidid moth (Loxostege frustralis) that seriously damages fodder in sheep-farming regions of southern Africa.
1973 Cape Times 30 June 11There have been good rains this year, and the veld was fairly good although much devasted by the Karoo caterpillar.
1974 E. Prov. Herald 21 Dec.There was a bad drought and a karroo caterpillar plague.
1975 E. Prov. Herald 21 Mar. 4Mr Pretorius said the Karoo caterpillar did extensive damage by defoliating Karoo bush.
1986 Scholtz & Holm Insects (1985) 417Several ichneumonids..are parasitic on the karoo caterpillar, Loxostege frustralis (Pyralidae).
1990 A. Craig in Birding in Sn Afr. Vol.41 No.4, 123Although he was little concerned with African birds, the Karoo ChatCercomela schlegelii bears his name.
1929 J.G. Van Alphen Jan Venter 16‘It’s no joke starting a fire with only dry dung for fuel.’ ‘Karoo coal we call it down at the Cape.’
1786 G. Forster tr. of A. Sparrman’s Voy. to Cape of G.H. I. 246The carrow-fields..are horridly parched up and arid.
1801 Truter & Somerville in G.M. Theal Rec. of Cape Col. (1899) IV. 417The cattle were extrememly fatigued from the journey over hills and vales and sandy Karoo grounds.
1812 A. Plumptre tr. of H. Lichtenstein’s Trav. in Sn Afr. (1928) 122The soil throughout [the Karroo] is a sand mixed with clay or argilacious earth, and contains every where more or less of particles of iron, from which all yellow tinted soil throughout the colony has obtained the name Karroo ground.
1824 W.J. Burchell Trav. II. 44Such land is called Karro ground by the Cape farmers.
1836 Penny Cyclopaedia VI. 257The soil is a sand mixed with clay containing particles of iron, which gives it a yellowish colour: all soil of a similar colour in other parts of the Colony is called by the name Karroo ground.
1987 Handbill, Connock’s Butchery, GrahamstownSmoked chickens, ‘Karoo oysters’ — liver rolled in caul.
1989 Motorist Aug. 5For lunch, order what the locals jokingly call ‘Karoo oysters’, and you will be served the most succulent lamb you have ever tasted.
1991 G.E. Gibbs Russell et al. Grasses of Sn Afr. 97Cynodon incompletus Karroo quick grass.
1974 Dorland’s Illust. Medical Dict. 1522Karroo s[yndrome], a condition observed in youth among Afrikaners in the Karroo region, consisting of high fever, alimentary tract disturbance, and tenderness in the lymph glands of the neck.
c1936 S. & E. Afr. Yr Bk & Guide 134The Karroo series covers the southern Karroo and a patch south of Worcester.
1905 H. Kynaston in Flint & Gilchrist Science in S. Afr. 294In the western, and particularly in its northern extension, the Karroo System diminishes very considerably in thickness.
1965 Hamilton & Cooke Geology for S. Afr. Students 248The rocks are undoubtedly pre-Karroo and largely terrestrial in character.
1972 D.F. Kokot in Std Encycl. of Sn Afr. VI. 306A large part of the Karoo..is coterminous with what is known geologically as the Karoo System, which..extends much farther northwards and covers a large part of Southern Africa.
1991 F.G. Butler Local Habitation 270Andrew Geddes Bain,..a pioneer geologist whose description of the Karoo system of rocks remains virtually intact.
1992 Afr. Wildlife Vol.46 No.6, 278A sill of Karoo dolerite intersecting the Mzintlava River.
1822 W.J. Burchell Trav. I. 83Cords made of the bark of the Karro Thorn-tree.
1822 W.J. Burchell Trav. I. 386A small spring very pleasantly situated amidst large trees of Karro-thorn.
1824 W.J. Burchell Trav. II. 241The principal shrubs about Ongeluks Fountain, are the Tarchorianthus, the Hookthorn, the Karrothorn.
1906 F. Blersch Handbk of Agric. 258The doornboom, karroo thorn, or mimosa (Acacia horrida), become injurious by their getting into and spoiling wool and hair.
1960 U. Krige (tr. of J. van Melle) in D. Wright S. Afr. Stories 133The sweet scent of the Karoo-thorn flowers filled the air as you passed by.
1966 C.A. Smith Common Names 282Karoo thorn, Acacia karroo.
1795 C.R. Hopson tr. of C.P. Thunberg’s Trav. II. 103The plants as well herbs as bushes, stand very thin in the carrow-veld.
1837 N. Polson Subaltern’s Sick Leave 152Those reared in the ‘karoo veld,’ or parched lands destitute of all vegetation but a species of bush, eat and thrive on the bush.
1906 F. Blersch Handbk of Agric. 256In the dry regions the bush veld, or karroo veld prevails, grasses rarely finding sufficient moisture to grow in such localities.
1910 A.B. Lamont Rural Reader 252Karoo veld is the name applied to the veld in the dry parts of Cape Colony, where grass cannot get enough moisture, but where certain bushes flourish.
1937 Handbk for Farmers (Dept of Agric. & Forestry) 386The perennial bushes form the staple, and at times indeed the only, means of subsistence in the Karroo veld.
1958 A. Jackson Trader on Veld 38The Karroo veld had no trees to provide us with firewood.
1961 H.F. Sampson White-Faced Huts 19On the scrub of the Karrooveld two Europeans..lay asleep under a little mimosa tree, fanned by a strong berg-wind.
1975 J.P.H. Acocks Veld Types 60The vegetation today is sparse Karoo veld..with stunted shrubs, especially in rocky (as distinct from stony) places.
1988 P.E. Raper tr. of R.J. Gordon’s Cape Trav. 1777–86 I. 60Travelling for a full hour through a fairly level ‘caroveld’ as it is called by the farmers.
The vast, arid inland plateau extending from Langeberg in the south to Cradock, Pearston, Somerset East and Venterstad in the east and northwards into the Orange Free State; any tract of Karoo-like desert land. Also attributive.
, see Bokkeveld
, the main plateau north of the Swartberg
, the southern portion of the Karoo, lying mainly between the Langeberg and the Swartberg; also attributive.
(any of) numerous species of scrub-like bushes occurring in the Karoo, especially those of the genera Chrysocoma and Pentzia; also called sweet Karoo.
, the (structure and formation of the) geological strata characteristic of the Karoo but extending beyond it; also in elliptical form Karoo, sometimes used attributively to allude to the era in which this system was formed;
, of or pertaining to the Karoo; of Karoo-like structure, climate, vegetation, etc.
, of or pertaining to the Karoo; of Karoo-like structure, climate, vegetation, etc.
Derivatives:
Hence Karoo adjective, of or pertaining to the Karoo; of Karoo-like structure, climate, vegetation, etc. , Karroid adjective, of or pertaining to the Karoo; of Karoo-like structure, climate, vegetation, etc.
1786 G. Forster tr. of A. Sparrman’s Voy. to Cape of G.H. I. 197In certain northern districts, such as Roggeveld, or Bokkeveld..the land is, as it is called, carrow, or dry and parched.
c1936 S. & E. Afr. Yr Bk & Guide 134The Karroid Plateau covers the northern Karroo and reaches Kimberley.
1937 Handbk for Farmers (Dept of Agric. & Forestry) 384A knowledge of the vegetation of the locality is essential, particularly so in parts like the Karroo and semi-karroo areas.
1951 N.L. King Tree-Planting 66Carissa haematocarpa (ferox) (Num-num), Very similar to C. bispinosa. Occurs in karroid scrub in eastern Cape.
1975 J.P.H. Acocks Veld Types 59Karroid broken veld.
1978 Sunday Times 5 Mar. (Mag. Sect.) 3The architecture is superb, pure early Karoo.
1978 Sunday Times 12 Nov. 5A taphouse at Robertson, where the food and style will be more Karoo than Boland.
1982 S. Afr. Panorama July 15Interesting natural Karroid veld.