matchbox, noun

Origin:
EnglishShow more Transferred use of general English slang matchbox a small house.
In full matchbox house: a small house, one of many built to the same plan as part of a mass housing scheme in a township. Also attributive.
1964 M. Benson Afr. Patriots 288During the night helicopters flew low over townships flashing searchlights down on the matchbox houses and rough roads.
1968 Cole & Flaherty House of Bondage 54The Government..simply erected two noisome tent cities, reminiscent of Boer War concentration camps, and put the people in them until their matchboxes should be ready.
1977 J. Sikakane Window on Soweto 5Inside the matchbox houses the inmates have woken up.
1982 M. Mzamane Children of Soweto 67The matchbox houses seemed to have been simply planted amid rocks and debris.
1985 Frontline Sept. 21Those successful ones who manage to liberate themselves from ‘Matchbox house’ existence to modern suburbia are accused of displaying ‘bourgeois’ tendencies to the accompaniment of ominous threats.
1982 I. Hudson in Leadership Vol.5 No.4, 74It is a match box house — one of a row of identical homes — with four rooms, concrete floors and an asbestos roof.
1992 S. Memela in Pace Sept. 176The common ordinary folk..are imprisoned in the squatter camps and matchbox houses.
a small house, one of many built to the same plan as part of a mass housing scheme in a township. Also attributive.
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19641992