paramount, noun

Origin:
EnglishShow more Special sense of general English paramount (one who is) superior in authority.
In full paramount chief:
a. A designation given (especially in the past by colonial authorities) to a senior African leader who is accepted as ‘the first among equals’ in the ruling structures of a traditional people or group of peoples; umkumkani. Also transferred sense, see quotation 1987. See also inkosi sense 1 a.
1844 Maitland Treaty in F. Brownlee Transkeian Native Territories: Hist. Rec. (1923) 92Treaty of Amity entered into..on behalf of Her Britannic Majesty, of the one part, and Faku, Paramount Chief of the Amapondo Nation.
1848 H. Ward Five Yrs in Kaffirland II. 30A paramount chief’s person is held sacred.
a1867 C.J. Andersson Notes of Trav. (1875) 220The residences of the great..are on a much more extensive scale — that of Chykongo, the paramount chief..being something like half a mile in circuit.
1877 R.M. Ballantyne Settler & Savage 19Lord Charles Somerset..chose to enter into treaties with Gaika as paramount chief of Kafirland, although Gaika himself told him plainly that he was not paramount chief.
c1882 G.W. Stow Native Races of S. Afr. (1905) 183A Bushman captain..was succeeded by ’Khiba, or ’Kheba, who was the paramount chief over the men of the caves.
1919 G.M. Theal Ethnography & Condition of S. Afr. before 1505 212Sometimes the heads of the clans were members of the family of the paramount chief.
c1948 H. Tracey Lalela Zulu 17This Zulu song is sung all over the country and particularly so when the Paramount Chief is in the immediate vicinity.
1968 E.A. Walker Hist. of Sn Afr.In theory, the ‘great place,’ the kraal of the paramount chief, was the centre of the tribal state.
1970 Daily News 15 MayParamount chiefs are already directing government officers at various levels.
1978 T.R.H. Davenport S. Afr.: Mod. Hist. 101Whether the slaughter was a spontaneous act of misguided faith or a calculated political move by Sarhili, the Gcaleka paramount..may never be known for certain.
1979 M. Matshoba Call Me Not a Man 175The paramount has followed his father’s road and has done much to keep the clans together.
1986 P. Maylam Hist. of Afr. People 197Vilakazi argues that the king’s status was reduced to that of paramount chief, who was subordinate to the resident commissioner.
1987 Drum July 10According to mlungu constitution the State President is the makhulu baas of all chiefs. He is the very Paramount Paramount Chief.
1991 S. Macleod in Time 5 Aug. 13Proud of his descent from the great Zulu warrior and paramount chief Shaka, who never surrendered, Buthelezi is not likely to yield to anyone.
b. (Always in full, and with initial capitals.) A title, often used before a name; P.C. noun1.
1926 M. Nathan S. Afr. from Within 55Sobhuza himself, together with his principal chiefs and Indunas, went to England to endeavour to obtain the restoration of his title as King (he had latterly been styled Paramount Chief by the Administration).
1949 O. Walker Proud Zulu (1951) 324All titles like Regent, Paramount Chief, and so on are mere sops to Zulu sentiment.
1974 Afr. Encycl. 505The policy of ‘separate development’..which led to the establishment of the Transkei has been opposed by the leader of the ‘True’ Thembu, Paramount Chief Sabata Dalinyebo.
A designation given (especially in the past by colonial authorities) to a senior African leader who is accepted as ‘the first among equals’ in the ruling structures of a traditional people or group of peoples; umkumkani. Also transferred sense, see quotation 1987.
P.C.noun.
Entry Navigation

Visualise Quotations

Quotation summary

Senses

18441991