DSAE test file

oorlam, noun and adjective

Forms:
oerlam, orlamShow more Also oerlam, orlam, urlam.
Plurals:
oorlams, unchanged, or orlammen.
Origin:
South African Dutch, MalayShow more South African Dutch, adaptation of Malay orang lama, orang person + lama long (of time), ‘one who has been in a place (originally the East) a long time’, hence ‘one with long and wide experience’. There have been other explanations of the etymology, see e.g. quotations 1889 (sense A 1), 1881 (sense A 2), also 1928 (sense B 1).
A. noun Obs. exc. historical.
1. Usually with initial capital. A name formerly given to a member of an indigenous people who, as a result of long contact, was familiar with the customs, standards, and language of the Dutch colonists. See also sense B 2.
1815 J. Campbell Trav. in S. Afr. 284In his kraal there are, of persons who speak the Dutch language, and who are called Orlams — 215.
1980 D.B. Coplan Urbanization of African Performing Arts. 55The majority of professional Coloured musicians..belonged to a broader social category known as oorlams.
2. [see quotation 1980.] Usually with initial capital, and in the plural, used collectively: the members of a predominantly Khoisan people of Namibia, displaced from the Cape Colony in the mid-nineteenth century; Afrikaner noun sense 3; Overlam. See also Bondelswart.
a1838 A. Smith Jrnl (1975) 289All the Orlam went to Barend.
1991 [see Nama noun sense 1].
B. adjective
1. Obsolete except in historical contexts Always with initial capital. Of or pertaining to the ‘Oorlam’ people of Namibia (see sense A 2); oorlams sense 1.
1838 J.E. Alexander Exped. into Int. I. 137He and the hunter were captured some months after by the Orlam Namaquas.
1928 H. Vedder in Native Tribes of S.W. Afr. 116The Orlam tribe, containing many hybrids of Dutch descent, who had adopted something of European civilization, possessing horses and supplied even with firearms, made on the Nama who had never been in contact with civilization, the impression that they were a highly developed people. That the meaning ‘Oorlandse mense’ is also attached to the word Orlam by the Nama would lead one to believe that the word means foreigners, people coming from across the Orange River, ie. people who are ‘further off’.
2. obsolete. Clever, shrewd, knowing; experienced, worldly-wise; crafty; oorlams sense 2. Cf. baar adjective.
Note:
Used especially of indigenous people long exposed to, and familiar with, the customs, standards, and language of the Dutch colonists.
1881 T. Hahn Tsuni-‖Goam 153If..they give a traveller a man as a servant, they say, ‘He is very orlam; he is not baar’ (he is very handy; he is not stupid).
1913 C. Pettman Africanderisms 349Oorlam,..Also used of a coloured servant whose laziness prompts him to a variety of scheming either to dodge or to scamp his work.
Usually with initial capital. A name formerly given to a member of an indigenous people who, as a result of long contact, was familiar with the customs, standards, and language of the Dutch colonists. See also B 2.
the members of a predominantly Khoisan people of Namibia, displaced from the Cape Colony in the mid-nineteenth century; Afrikanernoun3; Overlam.
Of or pertaining to the ‘Oorlam’ people of Namibia (see A 2); oorlams1.
Clever, shrewd, knowing; experienced, worldly-wise; crafty; oorlams2.

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18151986