South African Dutch, Malay, PortugueseShow more South African Dutch, perhaps from Malay njonja, njonjah, nonja, nona (see nonna); or, as claimed by Mansvelt (Idioticon, 1884), from Portuguese noiva bride.
1945N. DevittPeople & Places 141The counterpart [of baas], nooi, or nonnie, is said to come from the Portuguese, and is derived either from the word ‘nona,’ a nun, or from the Portuguese term for a bride.
1960J. CopeTame Ox 199‘Hai! hai!’ he said intensely, ‘a white nooi, and a child’...‘Where is the nooi going?’ the smaller man asked.
1963J. PackerHome from Sea 149Marriage, birth, death. These fundamental events had been shared in the families of the nooi and her domestics.
1968K. McMaghDinner of Herbs 56The servant came hurrying back to say that the man had gone, but the nooi must just come and seen the bed!
1914L.H. BrinkmanBreath of Karroo 24Servants speaking to a young lady say ‘Klein nooi,’ little maid.
1968M. MullerGreen Peaches Ripen 40‘Why don’t Klein Nooi plant fuschias in pots? (he always called me “little mistress”.) They grow well here in the shade.’
1977N. Okes inQuarry ’77 132The kleinnooi, Miss Frances, said it was the penicillin in the water butt, but the Oumissus..had only shaken her head and said that beef tea with a dash of port worked wonders.
1986City Press 23 Feb. 4‘White women use these schools to supplement their income. They are normally addressed as kleinnooi,’ said the teacher, adding that white teachers were ‘arrogant and conservative’.
1914L.H. BrinkmanBreath of Karroo 24‘Ou nooi’ is a term used by servants in addressing an old lady, and is equivalent to the English ‘Missus’.
1970M. MullerCloud across Moon 33Lizzie..looked at her feet. ‘Please, ou nooi, Merrem Retief phone. She say she want to speak to ou nooi.’
1972J. PackerBoomerang 63Of course Ma continued to be mistress of the house and Annie, the cook, had her own ways of making it clear that she took her orders from the die ounooi — the old mistress.
1982A.P. BrinkChain of Voices 59The drowsy Sunday afternoon, the Oubaas and Ounooi gone to visit the neighbours.
1984Fair Lady 14 Nov. 164The ounooi’s memory had died even before she had, with her two bottles a day.
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