larney, noun and adjective

Forms:
laani, laanieShow more Also laani, laanie, lahnee, lani, lanie, lannie, larnie, lorny.
Plurals:
larneys; occasionally ‖amalarney.
Origin:
Isicamtho, Malay, HindiShow more Adaptation of Isicamtho lani, lanie white man; ultimate origin unknown, perhaps related to Malay rani rich, a queen, or Hindi rani queen (see Green quotation 1982 at sense B).
colloquial
Note:
The replacement of /r/ by /l/ is common in the adaptation of foreign words by speakers of the Sintu (Bantu) languages. The spelling forms laani, lahnee and lanie are more frequently found in the noun form, while the Englished larnie and larney are more common as adjectival forms.
A. noun derogatory.
1. a. A white man. b. A boss or employer. (These two senses sometimes overlap.) Also as a term of address, and attributive.
1956 A. Sampson Drum 101As I sat down, between Bill and Can, I heard a murmur behind me of ‘Laanis,’ the tsotsi word for white men.
1963 L.F. Freed Crime in S. Afr. 127The tsotsis have a variety of words for money...Their word for an old man is ‘toppie’, for a young girl ‘tjerrie’, for a European ‘lani’.
1965 Paton & Shah Sponono (1983) 22Walter: I thought you wanted to work for the lanie. Sponono: Well, if I wanted to work for the lanie, I don’t want to work for him now.
1977 D. Muller Whitey 34The larnie at the kafee is a good man — a Portjie [Portuguese].
1979 A.P. Brink Dry White Season 53How’s it? Is this your Boer, Emily? This the lanie?...‘You may be a lanie’ — his red tongue caressed the syllables of the taunting tsotsi word — ‘but you’ve got it right here’.
1980 R. Govender Lahnee’s Pleasure 4In another twelve and a half years you might get yourself a gold watch. Sunny: My lahnee will give it to me, man. Stranger: Your? Sunny: My boss, man.
1982 V. Khumalo in Pace May 158‘Come here Lanie, let me tune you sum’thin’. So the ‘Lanie’..comes around a crowded local fish and chips shop. ‘Hey lanie, gimme a smoke, gee man, lanie man.’
1983 Natal Mercury 8 JuneThe ‘situations’ can go to their ‘larnies’ (white superiors) and complain about corruption...If a bra is working in a shop, he can slip a little extra into another bra’s parcel without letting the larnie know.
c1985 M. Gardiner in Eng. Academy Rev. Vol.3 114How does a literary critic, especially a ‘lanie’, explore poetry which dramatises the complex and developing perceptions of a street-wise..skollie?
1987 Learn & Teach No.5, 18I tell you, he was a real lanie — white, just like Terreblanche.
1989 E. Maluleke in Pace Mar. 56I am my own boss here — no ‘larney’ (white) to shout at me, and I don’t have to say ‘boss’ to anyone.
1989 J. Hobbs Thoughts in Makeshift Mortuary 171‘Where did you go to school to get this education that has you writing poetry and speaking —’...‘Like a lanie? I’m flattered.’
1989 Weekly Mail 15 Dec. 6He learnt his trade by standing around in the boat yard and watching what the larnies (white men) were doing.
1990 J. Naidoo Coolie Location 104Shushila..was a junior school teacher, real sophisticated, light-skinned, spoke like a laanie, was, actually more European than the Europeans.
1993 I. Powell in Leadership Vol.12 No.2, 122‘She doesn’t play the larnie like the way some of the other trustees do,’ is the way one long time employee put it.
2. A member of the upper classes.
1978 L. Barnes in The 1820 Vol.51 No.12, 19Terms derived from the Indian languages can be found to cover the whole social spectrum: The lahnees and the motas are the wealthy.
1990 Frontline Mar.Apr. 16We might think we’re plain folks, but in this context, that’s a ludicrous affectation. Here we’re larneys — gentry — like it or not.
B. adjective Uppercrust, ‘posh’; elegant, smart.
1975 L. Hogg Informant, PietermaritzburgLarney. Used as an adj. meaning elegant, sophisticated, eg. That’s a larney outfit...It is commonly used by students.
1977 Blossom in Darling 31 Aug. 131Blue eye shadow, orange blusher,..her best diamante drop ear-rings. Talk about larny! Auntie Vilma would put a rainbow to shame any day.
1978 J. Hobbs Darling Blossom 64Hang of a Romantic, get it, with larney graze and candles.
1982 Sunday Times 6 June (Mag. Sect.)The Bee-ems and other larney cars filled with businessmen and their birds out for a bit of this and that.
1982 M. Green Informant, Durban 1The word lahnee. I have a feeling that this word (used by white youngsters to mean ‘posh’, smart, in a vaguely derogatory sense) is more generally used now than it was in the past. I gather it is of Indian origin and was originally used by the Indian community in Natal to refer to white people, especially upper class people.
1985 Weekly Mail 1 Nov. 17Very laanie, and so it should be at the prices of the drinks, is Churchill’s in the Landdrost.
1986 L.A. Barnes in Eng. Usage in Sn Afr. Vol.17 No.2, 3The word lahnee..has been adopted into general SAE slang (larney) with the usual meaning of ‘smart’ or ‘grand’.
1991 H. Mendes Informant, JohannesburgLarney means ‘upper-class’, ‘moneyed’ or ‘intellectually sophisticated’: It was a really larney dinner party: we ate caviar, everybody but me wore R900 dresses, and most of the conversation went right over my head.
1993 D. Biggs in Rhodent 24Plonk de plonk:..Known in larney circles as Blanc de blanc, but that’s very pretentious and means more or less the same.
A white man.
A boss or employer. (These two senses sometimes overlap.) Also as a term of address, and attributive.
A member of the upper classes.
Uppercrust, ‘posh’; elegant, smart.

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19561993