piet-my-vrou, noun

Forms:
peit myn vrouw, piet-mein-vrowShow more Also peit myn vrouw, piet-mein-vrow, piet mifrau, piet-mij-vrouw, piet-mijn-vrouw, piet-myn vrouw, pit me frow, pit-me-wrou, and with initial capital(s).
Origin:
South African DutchShow more South African Dutch, onomatopoeic from the bird’s three-note call.
The migratory red-chested cuckoo Cuculus solitarius of the Cuculidae; its call.
1790 tr. of F. Le Vaillant’s Trav. II. 311He had scarcely killed the female, when the male began to pursue him with great fury, continually repeating Pit-me-wrou, Pit-me-wrou! It must be observed that these two words exactly represent the animal’s cry.
c1808 C. von Linné System of Nat. Hist. VIII. 356The male, uttering his call, seemed to pronounce distinctly these words, piet, myn vrow, meaning in Dutch, which the Hottentot understood very well, ‘Peter, my wife.’
1835 A. Steedman Wanderings I. 189The Piet-myn-vrouw, a bird of which the Hottentots relate many amusing stories.
1856 R.E.E. Wilmot Diary (1984) 134I must not forget the species [known] as ‘the Piet mifrau’ from its singular note.
1867 E.L. Layard Birds of S. Afr. 130Piet-myn-Vrouw of the Colonists...This bird — which, from its singular cry, has acquired the name by which it is known to the colonists — is common in the Knysna district.
1905 W.L. Sclater in Flint & Gilchrist Science in S. Afr. 141The Red-chested Cuckoo (C. solitarius) called the ‘Piet myn Vrouw’ by the Dutch from its voice, which consists of three clear notes in the descending chromatic scale.
1912 E. London Dispatch 9 Oct. 4The well-known call of Piet-mijn-vrouw was heard in the park in the evening of 7 October.
1930 N. Stevenson Farmers of Lekkerbat 153Somewhere near by the call of a piet-mein-vrouw could be heard quite clearly.
1956 P. Becker Sandy Tracks 118The three syllabled song of the ‘piet-my-vrou’, the elusive red-chested cuckoo, followed us as we entered an eroded path which meandered into the mountain.
1964 L.G. Green Old Men Say 164Cape Town’s favourite bird is the piet-my-vrou, a cuckoo which has become famous not for its plumage or its habits (which are reprehensible) but for its call. Spring is not regarded as a fact in the Cape Peninsula until someone has written to the newspapers claiming to have heard the first piet-my-vrou.
1972 Cape Argus 16 Sept.The piet-my-vrou (Cuculus solitarius) is the nearest relative of the European cuckoo to reach this corner of the African continent. His repetitious call, which gives him his name, is one of the most typical sounds of Africa.
1977 Het Suid-Western 12 Sept.Spring has arrived a week early. Its annual herald, the Piet-my-vrou, started calling on Sunday.
1971 K.B. Newman Birdlife in Sn Afr. (1979) 178The Red-chested Cuckoo, popularly known as the Piet-my-vrou, is a common and vociferous summer visitor to Southern Africa. Although very difficult to see it can be heard calling through most of the day and often at night too.
1982 S. Afr. Panorama Sept. 48The piet-my-vrou arrives with the swallows. Its call is so monotonous that you may regret having heard this first cuckoo harbinger of Spring.
1991 T. Baron in Sunday Times 5 May 27A passable imitation of the red-breasted cuckoo or piet-my-vrou.
The migratory red-chested cuckoo Cuculus solitarius of the Cuculidae; its call.
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