Native, noun and adjective

Forms:
Also with small initial letter.
Origin:
English, South African EnglishShow more Specialized senses developed from English native ‘one originating in a particular place’, ‘indigenous’, which senses have largely fallen out of use in South African English when referring to fellow South Africans.
obsolescent, offensive
Note:
Although all of the country’s ethnic groups (including the majority of whites) are South African ‘natives’ in the general sense, the word came to be used exclusively of black Africans. The sense-change from ‘indigenous’ to ‘black’ is not easy to discern in the earlier quotations, but they are included as evidence of early local usage. See also the note at black noun sense 1 b.
A. noun
1. As an ethnic label: a. A member of one of the Sintu-speaking (Bantu-speaking) peoples of southern Africa. b. Any black African.
Note:
Used in the past as an official term in various systems of race-classification.
1826 W. Shaw Diary. 31 Dec.Baptized five Adult Natives, on their profession of faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.
1990 R. Malan My Traitor’s Heart 30Natives cooked my meals, polished my shoes, made my bed, mowed the lawn, trimmed the hedge, and dug holes at my father’s direction.
c. combinations All offensive (and now obsolete or obsolescent)
Native Affairs historical, a forerunner of the government department of Co-operation and Development;
Native area historical, reserve;
Native beer obsolescent, tshwala sense a i;
Native boy, boy sense 1 a;
Native foreigner obsolete, a black African whose place of origin is beyond the borders of the Cape colony;
Native girl, girl sense a;
Native Law historical, a body of laws applicable only to blacks, and based partly on the traditional law of the black peoples of southern Africa; see also customary;
Native problem, Native question historical, (from a white perspective) the social and political difficulties connected with inter-racial relations and the political aspirations of black people;
Native reserve, see reserve;
Native trade, commerce in which most or all customers are black;
Native work, an offensive term for manual labour, or for any task considered by some to be too menial for whites to perform.
1857 C.H. Williams Letter to H.F. Fynn. (Killie Campbell Africana Library MS22887) 7 Jan.I have the honour to request you will be pleased to forward..a receipt for 14 head of cattle sent to feed Refugees..by order of the Secretary to Government for Native Affairs.
1941 W.M.B. Nhlapo in Bantu World 1 Mar. 9Europeans had given up jobs merely because the thought that the work they were asked to do was ‘native work’.
2. nonce. The Xhosa language.
1937 B.J.F. Laubscher Sex, Custom & PsychopathologyIf you cannot write English, then reply in native (Xosa).
B. adjective
1. a. Of, for, pertaining to, or characteristic of the Sintu-speaking (Bantu-speaking) inhabitants of southern Africa. b. Of, for, pertaining to, or characteristic of black Africans.
1827 G. Thompson Trav. 87Mr. Shaw, the missionary, being on a journey to Cape Town, I was hospitably received by two native teachers, who had the superintendence of the institution in his absence.
1982 [see blerry adj.].
2. Applied to cattle: of the Nguni type (see Nguni noun sense 3).
1827 T. Philipps Scenes & Occurrences 13The native cattle have extremely long branching horns, and long legs and are not so valuable as the crossed.
1973 Daily Dispatch 12 May 196 Tollies, 2 years and under, 4 Native Stock.
3. Offensive and derogatory. In the phrase to go native, (of whites) to associate with blacks; to adopt a black lifestyle. Cf. to go bush (see bush adjective1 sense 3).
1948 O. Walker Kaffirs Are Lively 79There were here and there white men who had ‘gone native’, as the saying is, and were living in remote kraals with a plurality of wives.
1968 F.C. Metrowich Frontier Flames 14With the loss of their leader the Du Buys volk deteriorated rapidly and for a time they went native.
A member of one of the Sintu-speaking (Bantu-speaking) peoples of southern Africa.
Any black African.
The Xhosa language.
Of, for, pertaining to, or characteristic of the Sintu-speaking (Bantu-speaking) inhabitants of southern Africa.
Of, for, pertaining to, or characteristic of black Africans.
Applied to cattle: of the Nguni type (see Nguninoun3).
(of whites) to associate with blacks; to adopt a black lifestyle.