roer, noun

DutchShow more Dutch, long-barrelled gun.
a. historical i. A large, heavy, long-barrelled flintlock musket similar to the type known elsewhere as the ‘Brown Bess’, used especially for hunting; elephant-gun, see elephant; sanna sense 1; snaphaan. Cf. sterloop. See also bobbejaanboud, voorlaaier. ii. transferred sense Any rifle or gun.
[1801 in G.M. Theal Rec. of Cape Col. (1899) IV. 388A lion..had been mortally wounded by a snelroer (a firearm placed purposely in the ground to catch wild beasts).]
1824 S. Afr. Jrnl I. 26Civilized man, — the possessor of the formidable roer or rifle.
1827 T. Philipps Scenes & Occurrences 210On his shoulder he carried a large roer (or flintlock), and dangling by his side an enormous powder flask.
1834 T. Pringle Afr. Sketches 525Roer signifies simply gun: but the term is more especially applied to the heavy long-barrelled guns used by the Boers for hunting elephants and other large game.
1834 Makanna (anon.) I. 188That inseparable companion of a Dutch Boer, his ‘roer’, (or gun — and by the by, the weapon of that sort used by an ‘Africanor’ is no plaything, being of a make between a blunderbuss and a musket).
[1847 J. Barrow Autobiog. Memoir 182Our party of boors..discharged a whole volley of their tremendously-large muskets, which they call rooars or caveers, into the herd, and killed or wounded five or six.]
1852 H. Ward Jasper Lyle 16The dissertation between the old man and his son was amusing; the patriarch remarking that where the pistol might wound six, the roer, the long gun of the Boers, must kill all it aimed at.
1873 F. Boyle To Cape for Diamonds 18The farmer’s roer, a clumsy old rifle, but one to do desperate execution.
1878 T.J. Lucas Camp Life & Sport 106They are excellent shots, and make nothing of bowling over a gnu or spring-buck at three hundred yards with their long ‘roers,’ or smooth bore guns.
1887 A.A. Anderson 25 Yrs in Waggon I. 24He once came on a lion asleep, and put his elephant ‘roer’ at his ear, when..the bullet..rolled down and dropped into the lion’s ear.
1899 Natal Agric. Jrnl 31 Mar. 4English colonists when speaking to natives, often use words such as..‘roer’ (the barrel of a gun) for firearms of all descriptions.
1908 J.M. Orpen Reminisc. (1964) 8His formidable ‘roer’, a single-barrelled, smooth-bore gun,..about five feet six inches long, with an eight to the pound round ball, and furnished with only one low back sight and an ivory front sight, or ‘korel.’
1910 J. Buchan Prester John 117All were armed with good rifles and bandoliers. There were none of your old roers and decrepit Enfields.
1937 F.B. Young They Seek a Country 539Jan carried his long-barrelled roer, an elephant-gun that fired a four-ounce bullet of lead and tin.
1944 J. Mockford Here Are S. Africans 65Next in importance to the wagon itself was the Voortrekker’s roer, his flintlock, which he kept..ready to his hand, together with his powder horn and bullet pouches.
1949 L.G. Green In Land of Afternoon 206Flintlock muskets were deadly enough to kill off most of the game...These roers, with improvements, remained in use until 1859.
1979 M. Matshoba Call Me Not a Man 32He raised the gun and shook it at us. ‘Climb in,’ he growled in Afrikaans. ‘I’d like to see if this old roer can still spit fire. I ask you to give me a chance to try it, kaffers.’
1983 J.A. Brown White Locusts 199Our president blew his thumb off when his elephant roer, his great old musket, exploded.
b. comb.
obs.roer-drager [Dutch drager carrier], roerdrawer, a musket bearer .
1835 T.H. Bowker Journal. 6 Sept.They say that the number of men with all their chiefs was very large, and that all the roerdrawers were here.
1838 Graham’s Town Jrnl in J. Green Kat River Settlement in 1851 (1853) 49No Hottentot who was a ‘roerdrager’ (musket bearer) should remain with the women and children, as they would all be required to fight.
1852 Godlonton & Irving Narr. of Irruption I. 170 (Pettman)Kreli was to have been with the Kaffir division, having a body guard of Kaffir (roer-dragers) musket bearers.
c. In the phrr. Boer and his roer (or Boer with his roer), Boer en sy roer (or Boer met sy roer) [Afrikaans en and or met with + sy his], the archetype of the frontier Afrikaner.
1948 A. Keppel-Jones When Smuts Goes 60The ‘Boer with his roer’ — his old muzzle-loader — meant security from the old attacks.
1965 D. Marais Ag, Sis Man! (cartoon)Opsaal Kêrels! I don’t mind boycotts and cancelled contracts, but when Wilson starts interfering with the Boer and his roer — that’s too much!
1971 Farmer’s Weekly 12 May 5The new uniform is completely South African and even if it does not have any direct link-up with the keen-eyed, straight-shooting ‘Boer en sy roer’ it does have in it this element of basic simplicity.
1971 L.G. Green Taste of S.-Easter 56‘Die Boer en sy roer’ suggests the traditional picture of the old warrior and hunter who seldom wasted a shot.
1972 Daily Dispatch 22 July 4This was the roer that created a South African legend and the first image of that heroic figure Die Boer met sy roer.
A large, heavy, long-barrelled flintlock musket similar to the type known elsewhere as the ‘Brown Bess’, used especially for hunting; elephant-gun, see elephant; sanna1; snaphaan.
Any rifle or gun.
a musket bearer
, the archetype of the frontier Afrikaner.

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