plaas, noun

Forms:
Formerly also plaats.
Plurals:
plaases, plase /ˈplɑːsə/, and (formerly) plaatzen.
Origin:
Afrikaans, DutchShow more Afrikaans, from Dutch plaats farm, place, square.
1.
a. place sense 1. Also attributive.
Note:
In modern usage, when consciously used instead of ‘farm’, ‘plaas’ may have derogatory or mocking overtones (see quotations 1959 and 1988).
1834 T. Pringle Afr. Sketches 296He possessed eleven plaatzen, or farm properties.
1868 W.R. Thomson Poems, Essays & Sketches 157They saddled their horses and rode off, leaving only his wife and a few old men and women on the ‘plaats’.
1879 R.J. Atcherley Trip to Boërland 70As grazing land, it commands the highest price in the Transvaal, and lucky is the Boer to whom has been awarded a farm, or plaats on the High Veld.
1896 R. Wallace Farming Indust. of Cape Col. 162Every man had a plaats, which grew as much grain as he wanted, as many grapes as he cared to make into wine of a sort.
1927 Outspan 4 Mar. 9He had driven twelve donkeys and a wagon laden with yellow peaches from the ‘plaas’ and intended to hawk the fruit in the streets.
1931 G. Beet Grand Old Days 18An old gentleman..insisted on taking two or three of our party across to his ‘plaas’ nearby, and introducing us to his charming grown-up daughters.
1959 J. Meiring Candle in Wind 117An older girl..looked Lena up and down. ‘Are you from the plaas?’ she asked impudently.
1980 C. Barnard in Daily Dispatch 15 Sept. 6Every so often I take off my surgical mask, put away the scalpel,..and head for the plaas to spend a few glorious days playing farmer.
1982 Sunday Times 19 Dec. 4Many of today’s achievers..started out as barefoot boys on remote plaases in the platteland. Now, often still barefoot boys on the plaas, they unashamedly enjoy the status symbols.
1988 Star 1 June (Tonight) 14Stateside he (sc. Paul Slabolepszy) hit the media roundabout for 10 hours a day...‘I still felt like this oke from the plaas and there they were talking bigtime.’
1989 P. Lee in Sunday Times 26 Feb. (Mag. Sect.) 36The bakkie is synonymous with the local farmer out on his plaas, battered veld hat with leopard skin strip keeping the blinding African sun from his eyes, and bags of mealies and his workers in the back.
1990 J. Naidoo Coolie Location 99I didn’t want to run the risk of having beauty accompanied by naiveté. I didn’t want a plaas girl for a life-long companion.
b. nonce. meanwhile, back at the plaas [by analogy with meanwhile, back at the ranch in general English, orig. used in Western cowboy stories and films]: used to introduce a subsidiary plot, or a change of topic.
1990 Style June 53Meanwhile, back at the plaas Marieke had a face-lift and so did her political party. Overnight we were confronted with a new South Africa and a new set of rules.
c. combinations
plaasboer /-buːr/ [Afrikaans, literally ‘farm-farmer’], Boer sense 1 a;
plaas koffie /- kɔfi/ [Afrikaans], farm-style coffee; see also moer koffie;
plaasmeel /-mɪəl/ [Afrikaans, meel meal, flour], Boer meal;
plaasmeisie /-meɪsi/ [Afrikaans, meisie girl], boeremeisie sense 1;
plaasmense /-mensə/, /-meɪ̃sə/ [Afrikaans, mense people], farm-people;
plaas-seuntjie /-siœŋki/ [Afrikaans, seun boy + diminutive suffix -ie], boereseun;
plaasskool /-skʊəl/ [Afrikaans, skool school], farm school; also attributive.
1968 E.A. Walker Hist. of Sn Afr. 86The interests of these plaas-boers lay in their farms, each of which was a state in miniature, producing little more than was needed for the maintenance of its inhabitants.
1974 Drum 8 Apr.I don’t want to change the running of this country because I’m no blerry politician, but just a plain plaas boer.
1978 Daily Dispatch 24 Nov. 9As a sturdy product of the ‘plaasboere’ from Henneman, he made a faithful and conscientious policeman in his duty to enforce the law.
1980 Farmer’s Weekly 2 July 68Lady, 49, is looking for a plaasboer over 50.
1978 Darling 13 Sept. 28I meet the country people in a farmhouse outside Worcester, in the gently green heart of grape-growing country...There is plaas koffie, soft-centred home-made chocolate cake, sherry, biltong.
1955 L.G. Green Karoo 99Any farmers’ wife will tell you that this stone-ground flour, known as plaasmeel, rises more surely and produces tastier bread than the flour from a modern mill.
1987 Sunday Times 12 Apr. (Extra) 4Mynie Grovê, who says she was reared as a plaasmeisie, wants Cape Town to become more aware of the talents beyond the Hex River.
1990 Weekly Mail 21 Dec. (Suppl.) 31A mixed bunch of glamour girls and ‘plaasmeisies’ reading Gramsci and misunderstanding each other.
1990 Style Feb. 30The Bekkers..are what you might call plaasmense, with perhaps a touch of brilliance.
1986 Argus 1 Mar. 15His roots are in the Eastern Cape and beacuse he was a barefoot boy on the farm, his father a farm labourer, the plaas-seuntjie-makes-good tag is one with which he is often labelled.
1986 B. Nasson in Burman & Reynolds Growing Up 109As one rural primary teacher has remarked: Look, if you’re a plaasskool pupil, life can be very difficult. There is a genuine stigma attached to coming from a farm school, believe me.
2. obsolete. An enclosed courtyard; a square.
1862 Lady Duff-Gordon Lett. from Cape (1925) 95As I sat waiting for early prayers under the big oak trees in the Plaats (square), he came up.
1878 H.A. Roche On Trek in Tvl 138Arrived in the Plaas, or square, in which their church is its most prominent, but by no means most beautiful object.
place1. Also attributive.
used to introduce a subsidiary plot, or a change of topic.
An enclosed courtyard; a square.
Derivatives:
Hence (sense 1) plaas adjective, rural.
1985 A. Goldstuck in Frontline Feb. 19‘Pasop!’ Two arms, linked and jutting dangerously, swing inches from his nose. ‘Kyk waar jy dans!’ he shouts at the unconcerned young couple vanishing into the distance. The plaas-Travolta takes no notice.

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18341990