ritual, adjective

Origin:
EnglishShow more Special sense of general English ritual pertaining to rites.
Always attributive, usually in the special collocations ritual killing or ritual murder: a murder carried out for the purpose of obtaining body parts to be used in the making of muti (sense 2 a); diretlo sense a; medicine murder, see medicine sense 2; muti killing or muti murder, see muti sense 5; ritual killer or ritual murderer: one who perpetrates such a murder; muti killer or muti murderer, see muti sense 5.
Note:
‘Ritual murder’ is sometimes considered a misnomer, since the preparation of muti made from human parts may or may not involve the performance of rites.
1949 J. Mockford Golden Land 89Of the nineteen cases of ritual murder which the police have taken to court since 1942, headmen or chiefs of one grade or another have been involved in every case but one.
1952 Drum Apr. 25In Africa, the worst form that superstition takes is what is popularly known as Ritual Murder. Actually the murders are not part of a ritual, and they should really be called diretlo, or medicine murders...Many people that Mr. Drum spoke to thought that the people at the bottom of ritual murders were the ngakas, or medicine men (or witch doctors, as corrupted by Europeans).
1953 R. Campbell Mamba’s Precipice 151The alarm is out for Mahakaan, the skebanga who murdered the two cousins of Mpathla here to get medicine out of their bodies. He was chief of the Ninevite gang of ritual murderers.
1959 E. Mphahlele Down Second Ave (1965) 141Alfred was murdered in an eastern Reef town in most mysterious and ugly circumstances which suggested ritual killing.
1968 A. Fulton Dark Side of Mercy 17Our chiefs are educated men...They are not likely to resort to ritual murder to fill the ancient medicine horns.
1974 E. Prov. Herald 28 Sept.Police are expected to offer a substantial reward for information leading to the arrest of a ritual-type killer on the Natal South Coast following the discovery of a fifth dismembered body.
1976 West & Morris Abantu 154The potency of these medicines was largely owed to the use of parts of the human body, obtained through what has come to be known as ‘ritual murder’ — a highly emotive term that has excited much comment over the years.
1978 Pace Dec. 13The Capital City has become a hotbed of ritual crime.
1982 Daily Dispatch 15 Apr. 3A Venda deputy minister was sentenced in the Venda Supreme Court yesterday to death for the ritual murder of a school principal.
1983 Drum Apr. 20This lush tropical country of mango and banana trees is the habitat of some of the sub-continent’s worst ritual killers. An average of four ritual killing cases come to the courts every month.
1988 B. Ntlemo in Frontline Oct. 9Although we are supposed to be living in a modern age, Venda is still behind...Young people want to drag their leaders ‘kicking and screaming’ into the modern age where ritual murders will be unheard of.
1990 J. Evans in A. Goldstuck Rabbit in Thorn Tree 61Children and old people are usually the victims of ritual murders because they are the most vulnerable and accessible.
a murder carried out for the purpose of obtaining body parts to be used in the making of muti (sense 2 a); diretloa; medicine murder, see medicine2; muti killing or muti murder, see muti5; ritual killer or ritual murderer: one who perpetrates such a murder; muti killer or muti murderer, see muti5.

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19491990