monkey-rope, noun

Origin:
English, South African DutchShow more Etymology dubious: either transferred use of English nautical term monkey-rope a safety-rope used by sailors; or translation and adaptation of South African Dutch baviaanstou, baviaanstouw ‘baboon’s rope’, either referring to the supposed use of these lianas by baboons, or with the meaning ‘worthless (or spurious) rope’.
Any of a number of liana-forming species of climbing plants of the Apocynaceae, Asclepiadaceae, Convolvulaceae, Hippocrateaceae, Leguminosae, Rhamnaceae, Rubiaceae, and Vitaceae; the tough, pliant stem of any of these plants; baviaan’s touw; bobbejaanstou, see bobbejaan sense 2; bush tou, see tou sense 2. See also Dawidjies sense b, klimop sense 2. Also attributive.
Note:
Cynanchum africanum of the Asclepiadaceae was probably the first species to be given this name.
[1812 A. Plumptre tr. of H. Lichtenstein’s Trav. in Sn Afr. (1928) I. 188This plant is here called Pavia-nentau (monkey’s cord), and was running about in every direction all over the forest.]
1827 T. Philipps Scenes & Occurrences 64Various creepers were entwined round the trees...The monkey rope, the wild vine with the grapes ascending the branches, wild fig, geraniums etc.
1829 C. Rose Four Yrs in Sn Afr. 300From them trailed light, stringy creepers, and that large one, known in Africa by the name of the monkey-rope, hung around in its twisted strength far thicker than the largest cable.
1849 E.D.H.E. Napier Excursions in Sn Afr. II. 369Noble forest-trees, mostly connected together by various lianes and creepers — here called ‘monkey ropes’.
1871 J. McKay Reminisc. 38No path could we find; miles of monkey-rope hung pendant from the stately trees.
1878 T.J. Lucas Camp Life & Sport 172Trees and bush, tangled with monkey-ropes and creepers of all kinds.
1887 J.W. Matthews Incwadi Yami 40Festoons of monkey rope parasites and other climbers.
1898 G. Nicholson 50 Yrs 61Creepers which in the local patois are called monkey ropes.
1907 T.R. Sim Forests & Forest Flora 13Tangled undergrowth and a profusion of ‘monkey-rope’ creepers impart a tropical character.
1913 H. Tucker Our Beautiful Peninsula 36Swaying monkey ropes and leafy twilight:..a haunting sense of intrusion into the hiding place of elves and wood-sprites.
1950 Jrnl of Botanical Soc. of S. Afr. XXXVI. (facing p.1)Wild Vine, Monkey Rope, Bosdruif, Baviaanstouw. Rhoicissus capensis.
1968 K. McMagh Dinner of Herbs 82Immense trees, their lichen-grown boles festooned with great monkey ropes as thick as your arm.
1972 Std Encycl. of Sn Afr. VII. 515Monkey-rope,..(Secamone alpinii.) Plant of the family Asclepiadaceae, a scrambler on bushes and trees. When it grows in a forest its old stems form the well-known ‘monkey-ropes’ hanging down from trees.
1980 Fair Lady 22 Oct. 149Palm fronds and monkey-ropes spill over onto the sundeck that overhangs the stream.
1989 B. Courtenay Power of One 155Monkey rope strung from tall trees draped with club moss.
Any of a number of liana-forming species of climbing plants of the Apocynaceae, Asclepiadaceae, Convolvulaceae, Hippocrateaceae, Leguminosae, Rhamnaceae, Rubiaceae, and Vitaceae; the tough, pliant stem of any of these plants; baviaan’s touw; bobbejaanstou, see bobbejaan2; bush tou, see tou2.

Visualise Quotations

Quotation summary

Senses

18121989