oubaas, noun

Forms:
Also oü baas, oud baas, and with initial capital(s).
Plurals:
(rare) oubase.
Origin:
Afrikaans, South African Dutch, DutchShow more Afrikaans (earlier South African Dutch), from Dutch oud old + baas master (see baas). Cf. ou adjective sense 1 a.
The elderly male owner of a home, farm, or business, the employer of the servants and labourers who work there; an elderly manager or supervisor; an elderly white man. Cf. oumissus.
1. Usually with initial capital, not preceded by an article: a title, with a proper name, or used as a deferential alternative to a proper name; old baas sense 2; old-boss sense 2.
1824 W.J. Burchell Trav. II. 95She told me that Oud Baas had tied her up to one of the wheels of the waggon and flogged her for a long time.
1868 W.R. Thomson Poems, Essays & Sketches 153Oü Baas..rushed out and nearly dragged the young man from his horse in the vehemence of his welcome.
1869 T. Baines Diary (1946) 59They recognised at once and were rather pleased with the likeness of ‘Oud Baas’, Mr. Hartley.
1959 Cape Times 5 June 13I recognized him as oubaas De Greef.
1971 Post 28 Mar. 22One of my two battered cars..should be sent to Oubaas Piet van der Merwe of Warden, Free State.
1974 S. Afr. Panorama Sept. 41His (sc. Craven’s) game caught the attention of ‘Oubaas’ Markotter, then coach of the university teams.
1980 A. Paton Towards Mountain 181Mr. H.C. Fick, known to all, boys and staff, as Oubaas, a man of about forty, was now put in charge of all the gardens.
1982 Sunday Times 30 May (Mag. Sect.) 1Is this the right number for Oubaas Wilkinson, the veteran who fought in the Boer War?
2. A form of address; oubasie sense 2. Cf. o.b. noun2.
Note:
Sometimes substituted for the second person pronoun ‘you’, reflecting the respectful third-person form of address used in Afrikaans (see quotations 1953 and 1991).
1914 L.H. Brinkman Breath of Karroo 24The master of the house is addressed as ‘Ou baas’.
1940 F.B. Young City of Gold 419Never you mind, ou baas...Why the hell should it matter to you if the farm goes to blazes?
1946 V. Pohl Land of Distant Horizons 50The Hottentot exclaimed indignantly: ‘Oubaas, if I have never told the truth, I am telling it now.’
1953 U. Krige Dream & Desert 91‘Why on earth is Oubaas looking at a dead painted old tree,’ she broke into his reverie.
1973 in Hansard 16 Mar. 2807Old Koos..said: ‘Oubaas,..I don’t know why you should start so late.’
1979 F. Dike First S. African 20Oubaas I’m looking for my master oubaas.
1990 R. Stengel January Sun 45I used to see my father referring to whites in — how should I say it? — he referred to them with awe and undue respect. To an old white man, he would say, Oubaas, and to a woman, he would say Missus.
1991 B. MacKenzie (tr. of F.P. Van den Heever) in Best of S. Afr. Short Stories 58How come the Oubaas travels tonight on Shank’s old pony just like a Jew trader? What’s happened to the transport?
3. A common noun; old baas sense 1; old-boss sense 1; oubasie sense 1.
1931 F.C. Slater Secret Veld 44He..indicated that I would find the ‘Ou Baas’ at the house...The ‘Ou Baas’..— as the phrase signifies — was a gentleman of venerable appearance.
1942 B. Knight Sun Climbs Slowly 286No, it was not the Oubaas, she said, but someone she had not seen before.
1952 E.H. Burrows Overberg Outspan 161These were the people who congregated on Sundays with the family to hear the oubaas read a chapter of the Bible.
1959 Cape Times 14 Feb. 3Joe told him that he and Moyisi had hit the oubaas with kieries.
1963 A.M. Louw 20 Days 18The nasty oubaas on the next farm..sent other people’s stray animals to the pound.
1977 Family Radio & TV 25 Sept. 53Most oubase don’t drink heavily.
1980 E. Joubert Long Journey of Poppie Nongena 340Just let the Oubaas say: O.K. I give you your rights, and I’ll say: O.K. tomorrow I go to the border with a gun.
1982 M. Mzamane Children of Soweto 184‘Now, you blerry skelm, will you tell the Oubaas who your student leaders are?’ he asked.
1987 Frontline Mar. 22Far from the rioting crowds of Soweto and light years away from the street-wise man about the township, the life of Jonas on the farm goes on much as it did when his grandfather worked for the Oubaas at the time of the Rinderpest.
1993 N. West in Sunday Times 16 May 6If the old ideologue and apartheid patriarch, Dr Hendrik Frensch Verwoerd had heard his grandson..proclaiming the virtues of the ANC and denouncing the NP, the oubaas would surely have turned in his grave.
4. In historical contexts. An affectionate nickname given to Jan Christian Smuts, second Prime Minister of the Union of South Africa; Oom Jannie, see oom sense 1 b. See also Ouma Smuts (ouma sense 3 b).
1943 Weekend News & Sunday Mag. 20 Mar. 4It was ergreed dat we soud send de Ou Baas er letter orf welkom an hold er Jan Smuts Ball.
1947 Forum 19 Apr. 1The problems which faced the Oubaas this week ranged from the spreading boycott of Indian traders in the Transvaal..to the need for separate trade unions for Africans.
1950 H. Gibbs Twilight in S. Afr. 249Henry Cooper..has devoted his life to ‘the Oubaas’, as Smuts is called.
1950 Star in J. Crwys-Williams S. Afr. Despatches (1989) 300As the first light glanced across the eastern hills on lovely Doornkloof farm, it fell on a house of grief. Who there but felt the pangs of loss at the Oubaas’s passing?
c1963 B.C. Tait Durban Story 69From here ‘Oubaas’ (Field-Marshal Smuts) stepped down at sunrise to bathe in the sea-girt pool across the railtrack.
1970 Daily News 19 May 3Once again, South Africa will be able to hear the voice of ‘Oubaas’ when recordings of his speeches..will be used in the programme.
1987 G. Viney Col. Houses 183Field Marshall and Mrs Smuts (‘Oubaas’ and ‘Ouma’) amongst the cannas during the Second World War.
1990 Fair Lady 7 Nov. 8Ouma Smuts..was darning a pair of Oubaas’s socks when some American tourists arrived.
5. Obsolete. Prison slang. With initial capital. The former Roeland Street prison, Cape Town.
1956 A. La Guma in New Age 27 Sept. 6In Roeland Street, Cape Town..stands the mass of brick and stone which is the city jail...Hardened old-timers refer to it with macabre humour as ‘Oubaas,’ and behind its walls exists a world ruled by stony-eyed guards who have become as cold as the iron bars over the windows.
6. figurative. Always with initial capital: God.
1972 Star 8 Dec. 9One hundred years old..Mrs Annie Hayman..explains her century by saying: ‘The Oubaas likes me, and that’s why he looks after me.’
1974 Het Suid-Western 25 Apr.Jackson..with the help of the ‘Oubaas in the sky’ succeeded in smashing the plug and breaking the current.
[1984 E. Euvrard in Sunday Times 11 Nov. (Life Style) 115I used to feel sorry for die Oubaas daar bo because my mother and I used to sit, one on either side of the bed, each praying fervently for the exact opposite!]
1991 D. Guy in City Press 27 Oct. 31The promises of the UDF, DTA and Swapo do not help. Only the Oubaas up there will help.
The elderly male owner of a home, farm, or business, the employer of the servants and labourers who work there; an elderly manager or supervisor; an elderly white man.
a title, with a proper name, or used as a deferential alternative to a proper name; old baas2; old-boss2.
A form of address; oubasie2.
A common noun; old baas1; old-boss1; oubasie1.
An affectionate nickname given to Jan Christian Smuts, second Prime Minister of the Union of South Africa; Oom Jannie, see oom1 b.
The former Roeland Street prison, Cape Town.
Always with initial capital: God.

Visualise Quotations

Quotation summary

Senses