reef, noun

Origin:
Australian English, English, Dutch, Low GermanShow more Related to Australian English reef lode or vein of auriferous quartz, transferred use of general English reef narrow ridge or chain of rocks lying at or near the surface of the water, from Dutch or Low German rif rib, ridge.
1. Geology. In a mine, that rock which surrounds the lode or vein, but which is itself not gold- or diamond-bearing. Also attributive.
1872 C.A. Payton Diamond Diggings 25There is a reef of rock and shale running round nearly all the rich tracts of ground.
1873 F. Boyle To Cape for Diamonds 288Climb the reef or rock at its nearer end, and look around.
1882 J. Nixon Among Boers 159The diamondiferous area in each is rigidly marked out by the surrounding reef.
1886 J. Noble Cape of G.H.: Off. Handbk 188The encasing rock of the Mine, or the ‘Reef,’ as the diggers called it, being exposed by the removal of the diamondiferous ground, began to disintegrate.
1893 T. Reunert Diamonds & Gold 21The surface shales and basalt surrounding the pipes are called ‘Reef’...The reef troubles..more than once threatened to involve the whole mine in ruin.
1897 F.R. Statham S. Afr. as It Is 191A heavy fall of ‘reef’ might stop the working of two or three companies at once.
1923 B. Ronan Forty S. Afr. Yrs 69A company called, I think, the White Horse Syndicate..had discovered a reef, suspected of being gold-bearing.
1933 W.H.S. Bell Bygone Days 131The reef at surface was oxidised and of a reddish colour.
1946 S. Cloete Afr. Portraits 183Began to work what they knew to be a minor reef while they searched for the mother lode.
1959 L. Longmore Dispossessed 13In an eighty-mile-long belt stretching east and west of Johannesburg lie the conglomerate ‘reefs’ of the Witwatersrand geological system.
1964 R. Crisp in Best of S. Afr. Short Stories (1991) 51‘I tell you it’s gold! You think I can’t tell the difference by now?...’ ‘Well, I’ve never seen this amount in reef before’...He made a careful selection of some of the more promising bits of reef and placed them in the curve of the share.
1972 S. Lynne Glittering Gold 31The reef is a layer of rock with rounded pebbles in beds of fine-grained rock.
2. Usually with initial capital, the Reef: the Rand, see rand sense 2. Also attributive.
1905 L. Phillips Tvl Problems 49Meetings took place along the Reef from Boksburg to Krugersdorp.
1908 Rand Daily Mail 11 Sept. 7Recently gangs of natives — known as Amalaita — have been making their presence known to Europeans along the Reef.
1914 Nongqai No.5 July (Extra)There civil servants play..snooker pool in company with them that labour deeply subterraneous on the Reef.
1926 M. Nathan S. Afr. from Within 298The gold mines, which lie along the ‘Reef’, extending for a distance of nearly 50 miles, from Randfontein to Springs.
1941 N. Devitt Celebrated S. Afr. Crimes 120Sergeant Martin coming to the bank went towards him as he rode down the main reef road.
1951 Drum Oct. 6In proportion to population, there are twenty times as many murders on the Reef than in the U.S.A.
1953 P. Lanham Blanket Boy’s Moon 63Makulu Baas arranged a big War Dance Competition in the compound at Msilikazi, at which all the Reef mines would be represented.
1956 M. Rogers Black Sash 28Brakpan, on the Reef.
1960 Star in J. Crwys-Williams S. Afr. Despatches (1989) 330Today’s heavy rain on the Reef reaches south only as far as Vereeniging.
1962 M. Brandel-Syrier Black Woman 47I believe in the new Townships, which have arisen next to the European towns all along the Reef.
1973 Farmer’s Weekly 18 Apr. 107I am a 45-year-old widower and would like to meet a widow living on the Reef or in the Pretoria area.
1976 J. Van Der Colff Bible Route: Mozambique 45I planned to remain in LM for one week before returning to the Reef (the gold-belt in the Transvaal Province of South Africa).
1986 E. Prov. Herald 19 Aug. 9Down at the coast or up on the reef.
1986 S. Sepamla Third Generation 4There was a time when our grand-fathers worked on the Reef mines for long spells of time.
1987 C.T. Msimang in S. Afr. Jrnl of Afr. Langs VII. July 82The wholesale influx of rural blacks to urban areas, especially the Reef.
1989 Reader’s Digest Illust. Hist. of S. Afr. 268The Chamber of Mines found a ready supply of cost-efficient labour for the Reef gold mines.
In a mine, that rock which surrounds the lode or vein, but which is itself not gold- or diamond-bearing. Also attributive.
the Rand, see rand2. Also attributive.

Visualise Quotations

Quotation summary

Senses

18721989