nonna, noun

nona, nonjeShow more Also nona, nonje, nonne.
South African Dutch, Malay, PortugueseShow more South African Dutch nonje, nonna woman, oldest daughter, probably from Malay njona, nona, njonjah an unmarried European girl, used also as a form of address, ‘miss’, ‘madam’; or perhaps adaptation of Portuguese dona lady (or see quotation 1913).
A.N.E. Changuion (Proeve van Kaapsch Taaleigen, 1844) records nonna as the diminutive form of South African Dutch nooi (see nooi).
1. Young mistress.
a. nonnie sense a.
[1785 G. Forster tr. of A. Sparrman’s Voy. to Cape of G.H. II. 191The cry of the young gnu was sometimes onje,..a good deal resembling the nonje of the colonists, (meaning miss).]
1913 C. Pettman Africanderisms 341Nonna or Nonni, (Port. nona, a nun. Crawford (‘Malay Dictionary’) says that the word is used by the Malays of an unmarried European lady; hence most probably its use and application in South Africa.) A young European lady, a young mistress.
1960 J. Cope Tame Ox 145The maid watched her aslant. ‘Ai, my nonna, what is the basie doing?’ the girl suddenly asked.
c1964 Kwela in New S. Afr. Writing 157As for the nonnas of Glenalmond, many of them ripe for marriage, he had taken none of them, in a white veil, to church.
b. nonnie sense b.
1965 D. Rooke Diamond Jo 93‘Nonna Leah did the writing,’ Stokkies told me.
a. missus sense 1 a.
[1903 L. Hotz tr. of J.E. De la Rey’s Woman’s Wanderings Anglo-Boer War 6Nonne, A Dutch-Indian term meaning Mrs or mistress.]
1968 K. McMagh Dinner of Herbs 51Karolus..was Granny’s especial property and was devoted to his nonna and to keep him happy and occupied she gave him little tasks that required her presence.
b. missus sense 2 a.
1972 L. Van der Post Story like Wind 269Nonnie was a dimutive of Nonna, the polite word for mistress used by the servants in Francois’s world. The daughters of the houses inevitably became nonnie (little mistress).
Young mistress.
missus1 a.
missus2 a.
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