mahem, noun

Forms:
amahen, maahoomShow more Also amahen, maahoom, mahaan, mahaem, maham, mayhem.
Plurals:
unchanged, or mahems.
Origin:
XhosaShow more Xhosa amahemu crowned cranes (singular ihemu); said to be imitative of their call. For an explanation of singular and plural forms, see ama- and ma- prefix3.
The crane Balearica regulorum of the Gruidae. Also attributive.
[1810 G. Barrington Acct of Voy. 302The honey bird, unknown in Europe;..the pekwe, the segizi, the heem...The last, I think, is mentioned by Van Rhener, and called hemoe.]
1827 G. Thompson Trav. 353If a person kill by accident a mayhem, (or Balearic crane),..he is obliged to sacrifice a calf or young ox in atonement.
1845 W.N. Irwin Echoes of Past (1927) 232I..have a pair of the most beautiful birds in Africa (Amahens) which are even here very rare...They are about three feet six inches in height.
1878 A. Aylward Tvl of Today 246The crested crane, called ‘mayhem,’ should..never be shot; it is a snake-killer.
1882 Lady F.C. Dixie In Land of Misfortune 78Two stately Mahaan birds..were standing by a deep sedgy pool, with their long necks half buried in the water.
1905 W.L. Sclater in Flint & Gilchrist Science in S. Afr. 143The Mahem or Crowned Crane (Balearica chrysopelargus).
1936 E.L. Gill First Guide to S. Afr. Birds 176Mahem, The name ‘mahem’ is supposed to be an imitation of its call.
1960 G. Lister Reminisc. 83My lovely golden-crested crane, the Mahem from Natal.
1980 J.O. Oliver Beginner’s Guide to our Birds 45When in flight they stretch their necks and legs, and often give their loud call as they fly away. The sound of this call has earned them the name of ‘Mahem’.
1994 A. Craig in M. Roberts tr. of J.A. Wahlberg’s Trav. Jrnls 1838–56 35Crowned crane Balearica regulorum, known as ‘Mahem’ from its call.
The crane Balearica regulorum of the Gruidae. Also attributive.

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