outa, noun

Also auta.
Afrikaans, Xhosa, DutchShow more Afrikaans, literally ‘old father’ (Afrikaans ou old + shortened form of Xhosa utata father, or Dutch dialect tate father).
Especially among Afrikaans-speaking people:
1. A form of address to an elderly black man; outatjie.
1908 I.W. Wauchope Natives & their Missionaries 4A Native male is either a diminutive or a super-annuated specimen of humanity whom they (sc. the Dutch) could not logically call man or woman; therefore he was called a ‘Jong,’ i.e. a boy, or as a term of respect, ‘Ou-ta,’ i.e. grand father.
1914 L.H. Brinkman Breath of Karroo 229‘I must go on, Outa, for I am fetching a doctor for a sick woman, and there is no time to lose.’ The word ‘outa’, meaning ‘old father,’ is only used by Europeans when addressing elderly native males. Thus, should any one address a half-caste as ‘outa,’ it would be taken as an insult. Should a half-caste address a native as ‘outa,’ the indignant reply would be, ‘I’m not your outa — you are as black as I am.’
1961 L.E. Van Onselen Trekboer 103I looked into his wrinkled old face and knew that there must be a story there. Jokingly, I said to him, ‘Outa! have you got any diamonds to sell?’
1965 E. Mphahlele Down Second Ave 149Afrikaans literature that teems with offensive words like aia — for non-white women, outa — for non-white men, and a literature that teems with non-white characters who are savages or blundering idiots to be despised and laughed at; characters who are inevitably frustrated creatures of city life and decide to return ‘home’ — to the Reserves.
1968 K. McMagh Dinner of Herbs 52The young woman flew to old Karolus and taking his hand led him to the steep path...‘Slowly Outa, slowly,’ she warned. ‘Slowly or you might stumble and fall.’
1969 A. Fugard Boesman & Lena 20Come sit Outa. Sit and rest.
1981 [see ayah sense 2].
2. A title, often with a name.
1917 S.T. Plaatje Native Life 85Go away, Auta Gert; you are dreaming, my husband would never talk such nonsense.
1927 C.G. Botha Social Life in Cape Col. 44Even the servants had their designations, Ayah was the nurse, Outa was the senior male servant.
1980 A.J. Blignaut Dead End Rd 21The Boer War broke out shortly after he’d started calling me Hottentot, instead of Outa Ruiter.
1991 B. MacKenzie (tr. of F.P. Van den Heever) in Best of S. Afr. Short Stories 56‘Ag, Outa Sem,’ Jannie had lamented, ‘I would like a nice bit of meat, or a spoon of syrup over my porridge or a little sugar in my coffee!’...He had been left behind alone on the farm under the care of Aia Koema, an elderly Griqua maidservant and her husband Outa Sem.
3. A common noun: an elderly black man.
1934 C.P. Swart Supplement to Pettman. 131Outa, An old coloured servant is so called by Afrikaans-speaking persons.
1955 A. Delius Young Trav. in S. Afr. 110Back on the farm Dick and Frank helped the Outas and Jongs to feed the pigs.
1959 A. Delius Last Division 77Remembered childhood where an outa might twang strange wonders from a high-strung heart.
1977 M. Du Plessis in Quarry ’77 68You deplored false worship of racial purity, exploitation; you made a lament over the black ones denigrated and despised: ‘jong, outa, kaffer, skepsel’ the terms which filthy those who use them.
1978 Sunday Times 20 Aug. 14Those who objected to ‘meide and outas’ in the post office queue should remember that the congress agenda also called for compulsory military service for coloureds and Indians.
1978 A.P. Brink Rumours of Rain 153As I stood to one side to let him go out, she asked: ‘Daddy, is he an uncle or an outa?’
1989 F.G. Butler Tales from Old Karoo 56The old coloured got up politely as I approached, and said ‘Good morning...Do you want to go in?’...He pointed..to the gate, and there..was the name ‘Heaven’s Gate’...I turned to the outa and said jokingly: ‘I suppose your name is Peter?’ He smiled, and nodded.
A form of address to an elderly black man; outatjie.
A title, often with a name.
an elderly black man.
Entry Navigation

Visualise Quotations

Quotation summary