morena, noun

Also marena, moreana, and with initial capital.
Sotho, seTswanaShow more Sotho and seTswana, singular noun prefix mo- + rena be rich, be a chief.
Especially among Sotho-speakers:
1. Used of or to someone in authority (but see also quotation 1912).
a. A respectful form of address or reference: ‘Sir’, ‘Master’. Cf. inkosi sense 1 b, umnumzana sense 2 a.
[1835 A. Smith Diary (1940) II. 186They walked boldly in though they saw the Matabeli, saluted all the white people with ‘Moron’ and then went towards the Matabeli fire.]
1840 J. Campbell Journey to Lattakoo 87Thirty-nine Marootzees joined us from Mashow...On meeting them..they saluted me with the word Murella.
1912 J.C. Macgregor tr. of D.F. Ellenberger’s Hist. of Basuto 292One is agreeably surprised to much politeness, and so many rules of etiquette..faithfully observed...The chiefs often address their subjects as marena (‘chiefs’), benghali (‘my masters’).
1923 G.H. Nicholls Bayete! 54The messengers formed up in a line in front of the two officials and saluted in their turn, by throwing up the right hand, fist clenched, straight above the head and shouting ‘Morena’.
1924 G. Baumann in Baumann & Bright Lost Republic (1940) 137All the boys whom I had had occasion to flog saluted me with upraised arm: ‘Domela Morena’ (Sesuto — ‘Hail, Master’).
1937 B.H. Dicke Bush Speaks 123Morena! Ghosi! (Sir! Chief!), a voice called out of a large maize field where the plants stood some eight feet high.
1952 H. Klein Land of Silver Mist 85A Native police-boy doing his patrol on a bicycle came down to have a look at me. ‘Morena’, he greeted.
1974 Sunday Times 1 Sept. 3The Bantu is a person, an entity with a name and a surname. If it is known, call him by his name and surname and add ‘mister’ (Morena), particularly if you are in his homeland.
1975 S.S. Mekgoe Lindiwe (1978) 17No-no Sergeant, no-no morena. Asseblief my baas.
1989 Weekly Mail 27 Oct. 11The insistence by whites to be called baas or Morena (chiefs) by the black policemen.
1990 G. Slovo Ties of Blood 474Moses did not deign to reply. For this transgression one of the constables guarding him kicked him in the back. ‘Answer the moreana,’ he ordered.
b. A common noun: a master; also used as a polite form of address in the third person. Cf. inkosi sense 1 a.
1908 [see kgosi].
1942 U. Krige Dream & Desert (1953) 133‘Greetings, Morena Dumela!’ he exclaimed in Sesuto. ‘But the Morena speaks Sesuto. It is wonderful. Why did the Morena not tell me the other day he speaks our language?’
1942 U. Krige Dream & Desert (1953) 135Morena, give my greetings to the other Morena. To-night I shall come to the Morena’s truck and we shall speak again of Mokhotlong.
1948 E. Rosenthal Afr. Switzerland 71The white morenas adjourn for a whisky-and-soda.
1960 J. Cope Tame Ox 61The morena was a young man with a pleasant sunburnt face and blue eyes. He made out the ticket without a word and then he came from his small office and chatted to Isaiah.
2. A title of respect given to a Sotho chief.
1861 E. Casalis Basutos II. 214The Basutos give to the princes who govern them the title of Morena...He who watches over the public safety and welfare.
1953 P. Lanham Blanket Boy’s Moon 17The Chief is highly respected by his subjects, who call him, Morena.
1957 A.A. Murray Blanket 192‘Morena — Chief,’ he said. At once the others followed his lead, and the night rang to the deep cadence of their voices: ‘Morena — Morena’.
1988 Spiegel & Boonzaier in Boonzaier & Sharp S. Afr. Keywords 48A chief in Qwaqwa is still called morena, the word used to describe nineteenth-century political leaders whose authority derived from their ability to maintain their followers’ allegiance, as well as from their descent from particular lines.
3. God, ‘the Lord’. Cf. Modimo.
1882 J. Nixon Among Boers 248As a rule, the natives have some crude idea of an Omnipotent Being,..who is known by some of the tribes as ‘Morena’, i.e. the power in the skies.
1981 Rand Daily Mail 16 July 6The two began to work on the idea of what would happen if ‘Morena’ (Sotho for the Lord) came down to earth here in South Africa.
‘Sir’, ‘Master’.
a master; also used as a polite form of address in the third person.
A title of respect given to a Sotho chief.
God, ‘the Lord’.

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