lekker, adjective and & adverb

Forms:
lecker, lekeShow more Also lecker, leke, lekka.
Origin:
Afrikaans, DutchShow more Afrikaans (earlier Dutch), in the sense ‘delicious’ (of food).
colloquial
Note:
The pronunciation /ˈlʌkə/ is commonly heard in Kwazulu-Natal.
A. adjective
1.
a. A term of general approbation: ‘nice’, ‘pleasant’, ‘good’, ‘lovely’.
Note:
Initially used only of food and drink, but subsequently broadened in usage.
1847 J. Barrow Autobiog. Memoir 188Mr. Bresler, having heard that the gelatinous hoof of the hippopotamus was delicious, had one of them cooked in his iron pot...The landrost..got through the whole foot, exclaiming repeatedly how lekker (delicious) it was.
1861 P.B. Borcherds Auto-Biog. Mem. 27Music was introduced, and many a pipe of lekker kanaster [tobacco] smoked during this animating scene.
1898 M.E. Barber Erythrina Tree 10He knows his exchequer, Has grown fat and ‘lecker,’ Since all of you came to Pretoria.
1901 Grocott’s Penny Mail 29 Apr. 3While the rebels were paying visits to the unprotected and loyal farmers and looting their stock and wantonly destroying their household goods, one of the lawless rascals declared the enterprise to be ‘lekker’.
1911 D.B. Hook ’Tis but Yesterday 91Piet asked why the ‘baas’ did not hunt the gemsbok for the sake of the biltong, which was so ‘lekker’ (nice).
1926 E. Lewis Mantis 123To Mr Dan Hugo nothing tasted so lekker as a good cup of coffee at that hour.
1952 Drum July 21Galima get some tea and lekker koeksisters for the madams and masters.
1953 F. Robb Sea Hunters 137‘Fish soup and baked fish to follow. Lekker!’ Olley drooled.
1960 J. Taylor Ballad of the Southern Suburbs’. (lyrics)Ag, pleeze, Deddy, won’t you take us off to Durban, it’s only eight hours in the Chevrolet. There’s spans of sea and sand and sun, and fish in the Aquarium, That’s a lekker place for a holiday.
1961 Personality 16 May 27It’s a lekker language.
1971 E. Prov. Herald 15 Sept. 13I’d prefer to let him continue with his own mod vocabulary of ‘lekka,’ ‘deck,’..and ‘sight.’
1973 Star 11 Apr. 18 (advt)My chickens are really lekker...My chickens are lekkerder because although they’re available in your shop they’re fresh from my farm.
1975 E. Prov. Herald 19 Sept. 7Graze — the lekkerest thing between meals.
1978 M.J. Mtsaka Not his Pride 13Find me a place that is lekker — if not lekkerer than this one. I mean, there must be good things.
1985 S. Afr. Panorama May 39With apologies to a famous advertising slogan, we’ll call it liplicking lekker.
1987 Cosmopolitan Dec. 89White South African audiences tend to regard anything South African as unlekker.
1987 E. Makhanya in Sowetan 28 Dec.It has been leke being with you. Have a leke New Year and avoid all kinds of troubles.
1990 R. Stengel January Sun 52When people say ‘How’s it?’ to him, he often replies, ‘Lekker, lekker’.
1992 Style Oct. 108It wasn’t a lekker experience seeing ourselves as others saw us.
1992 H. Dugmore in Scope 13 Nov. 46‘It (sc. the magazine) has interesting articles, and the chicks are lekker,’ says this British boy from Dorset in mock Saffrican.
1994 Sunday Times 23 Jan. 28 (advt)We can’t always keep the lekker local flavour of South Africa to ourselves...If you don’t believe biltong is the lekkerest, best loved snack in the land, try this; put down a bowl of peanuts, a bowl of crisps and a bowl of biltong.
b. In the expression local is lekker: a slogan expressing or calling for pride in South African achievements; used also as adjectival phrase and noun phrase.
Note:
Used originally of local popular music.
1983 Sunday Times 4 Sept. (Mag. Sect.) 30At 702, they call Neil Johnson ‘The Local Hero’. Just a dash of irony there, of course. Because the fact is, the station doesn’t really go for the Local is Lekker Affirmative Action programme.
1987 J. Khumalo in Pace May 140Local is lekker says Kamazu. Out with the phony American influence and in with the home grown stuff.
1988 H. Prendini in Style Feb. 8Chris Barnard..has such a local-is-lekker charm that after a while no-one notices the Karoo accent.
1988 Personality 25 July 80We see a very high percentage of America’s best shows. But what’s good for Americans is not necessarily good for us. Local is lekker.
1988 Cape Times 29 Dec. 4She’s a firm supporter of ‘local is lekker’. She prefers to work with the resident company rather than with famous names.
1989 P. Lee in Sunday Times 26 Feb. (Mag. Sect.) 36What more can I say about a runner who’s pure poetry in motion once he gets going, and who can show those foreigners a thing or two. Local is really lekker.
1989 S. Mostert in Flying Springbok Sept. 30Three seasons of the musical, District Six, were sold out, making it the longest-running show in South African history. So, the time was ripe for ‘local is lekker’ and the troupes marched again.
1990 Style June 120Perhaps it is simply the old South African chip on the shoulder which has led us to swallow the line that local may be lekker when you’re speaking of the white rhino but is somehow vastly inferior when it comes to the inside of our homes. How else to explain the extraordinary absence of indigenous arts and crafts from the interior decor of most South African homes?
1990 Top Forty July (Suppl.) 1The time for the ‘local is lekker’ syndrome is long gone. We have to compete with the best from overseas on their own terms. No more excuses that it is a local product and that the public should accept it out of sympathy or patriotism.
1993 SABC Radio & TV JulySept. 15Local is very ‘lekker’ and the station regularly uses local artistes.
1995 Natal Witness 3 Jan. 7Local is lekker! The Woza ’95 festival held..in Durban yesterday proved that South African music is highly appreciated.
c. Special collocations
||lekkergoed /ˈlekə(r)xʊt/, /-xut/ noun [Afrikaans, goed stuff, things], sweet things, especially sweets; cf. lekkers;
||lekkerjuk /ˈlekə(r)jək/ noun [adaptation of Afrikaans lekkerjeuk, jeuk itch], also lekkerkrap /-krap/ [Afrikaans, krap scratch], scabies, infectious itch;
lekker lewe /ˈlekə(r)ˌlɪəvə/, formerly also lekker leven, [Afrikaans lewe, earlier Dutch leven life], ‘the good life’;
lekker ou /ˈlekə(r) ˌəʊ/ [Afrikaans ou, see ou noun], ‘fine fellow’, ‘nice chap’; also attributive.
1938 F.C. Slater Trek 45He would stir About the camp to find them koekies sweet, Raisins and other lekkergoed to eat.
1958 A. Jackson Trader on Veld 35The average farmer had a sweet tooth and we carried varied stocks of lekkergoed (sweets).
1970 H.M. Musmeci Informant, Port ElizabethThe children enjoy eating lekkergoed (sweets).
1970 Post 21 June (Home Post) 11Your wife would appear to have something called lekker-yuk, and this can be cured with anti-scabies lotion.
1971 Informant, OFSOne of the kids was itching so, and she said ‘That’s lekkerjuk’.
1969 Rand Daily Mail in C. Desmond Discarded People (c1970) 253The most prevalent disorder is known locally as ‘lekkerkrap’ (scratch nicely, a good scratch)...‘People are always scratching their bodies...Everybody gets lekkerkrap.’
1928 E.A. Walker Hist. of S. Afr. 204What could cattle-farmers do but look around for a way of escape from changing conditions which promised to make the old style of life, the lekker leven, impossible?
1937 S. Cloete Turning Wheels 260They had come to lead a ‘lekker lewe’ and considered themselves happy because they were free to live a comfortless life, to hunt and to fight without let or hindrance.
1944 J. Mockford Here Are S. Africans 61They called it..the lekker lewe, the nice life, the pleasant life.
1949 C. Bullock Rina 26Enjoying the lekker lewe of the trek-boer who stays only for so long as the pasture is good.
1952 B. Davidson Report on Sn Afr. 115Such is the setting of the drama. The curtain goes down at last on the sweetly lingering lekker lewe of rural solitude.
1981 E. Prov. Herald 13 May 8They stayed on the land, enjoying the old traditional lekker lewe as long as they could, which was well into the 20th century.
1990 R. Stengel January Sun 34Farming in the Transvaal was not the lekker lewe — the sweet life — that it had been in the Cape.
1970 C.B. Wood Informant, JohannesburgHe is a ‘lekker ou’ (nice chap).
1972 Cape Times 1 Aug.To rank as a lekker ou at Bishops, Michaelhouse or St. Andrews is surely not to have lived in vain.
1990 Hogarth in Sunday Times 22 July 16Mr S— has a persuasive lekker-ou manner which enables him to make even the most outrageous ideological codswallop sound mildly plausible to uncritical ears.
1990 J.G. Davis Land God Made in Anger 266He knew the type: the lower-class whites which this country protected with its Apartheid, the lekker ous with their leather lumberjackets and their zoot suits.
2. transferred sense. Usually predicative. Of people: lightly intoxicated, ‘happy’, tipsy.
1913 W.C. Scully Further Reminisc. 66For upwards of a quarter of a century Jacomina had spent more than half her time in gaol — for drunkenness or violent incontinence of speech when only ‘lekker’ or half-tipsy.
1934 Sunday Times 17 June (Swart)They were not drunk, he said, but only ‘lekker’.
1934 C.P. Swart Supplement to Pettman. 105Lekker,..Figuratively it means half-tipsy or convivial.
1952 H. Klein Land of Silver Mist 96When we got to the Letaba we were all lekker — lovely...I can’t help it, baas, if the gentlemens are lekker and jump out of the coach and falls down the mountain.
1968 F.G. Butler Cape Charade 10At midnight..the whole country was lekker-happy.
1974 Evening Post 11 Sept. 1They had drunk a bottle of wine together and Mr Geswindt was ‘lekker’ when he last saw him.
1978 Post 12 Oct. (Woman’s Post) 8The cheese helped keep everybody just ‘lekker’ and not too stoned to make them rowdy.
3. Of water: ‘sweet’, wholesome.
1936 C. Birkby Thirstland Treks 117Lekker water,’ she cried, her arms outstretched. ‘Sweet water.’ Can you imagine a child begging not for a crust or a penny, but for a drink of water that is not brak, bitter to the mouth?
1969 J.M. White Land God Made in Anger 53The land pants eternally for moisture. It is not for nothing that the talk here is all of lekker water — sweet water — a monologue concerning dams and barrages, canals, pipelines and storage tanks.
B. adverb
1. Well; delightfully.
1900 A.W. Carter Informant, Ladybrand 8 Feb.On Monday these left and in moving round the mountain was ‘verneuked’ as Hannes said ‘lekker’.
1968 G. Croudace Silver Grass 90‘I couldn’t sleep.’ ‘But your ma and pa..’ ‘Oh, they’re sleeping lekker, very nice.’
1982 D. Kramer Short Back & Sides 9Ja, we grew up with the Shadows and Beatles and..fell in love and got drunk and bunked school..and did all the things that made our parents worry, but growing up so lekker.
1986 Vula July 19In 1974 I met Dudu Pukwana overseas. We got on lekker.
1989 D. Kramer in ADA No.7, 8Why is he called Jan Mockingbird? Because he sings so lekker.
1991 Sunday Times 23 June (Mag. Sect.) 14My new go-faster-stripes really work lekker, hey?
2. Very, incredibly, wonderfully; ‘nice and ...’.
1916 S. Black in S. Gray Three Plays (1984) 210Mrs H: Oh, I suppose you’d sooner she showed you the rooms than me? Van K (embarrassed): She’s a ripper — lekker fet.
1975 G. Haresnape in Bolt No.12, 12Week-ends I’se gonna be lekker lazy.
1986 J. Scott in Cape Times 5 Feb. 11The Cape skollie..got on the train ‘lekker dronk’ and was told by the conductor to ‘go to hell’.
1987 E. Prov. Herald 29 Apr. 14 (advt)Weekend Fish Specials! ‘Lekker Fresh!’.
‘nice’, ‘pleasant’, ‘good’, ‘lovely’.
In the expression local is lekker: a slogan expressing or calling for pride in South African achievements; used also as adjectival phrase and noun phrase.
lightly intoxicated, ‘happy’, tipsy.
‘sweet’, wholesome.
Well; delightfully.
Very, incredibly, wonderfully; ‘nice and ...’.
Derivatives:
Comparative forms lekkerder [Afrikaans] or lekkerer, and superlative form lekkerest. Also lekkerness noun, pleasantness.
1974 Weekend Post 31 Aug. 6Expressed his satisfaction with the increasing lekkerness of Parliament.
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18471995