AfrikaansShow more Englished form of Afrikaans rooiman, see rooiman.
1.Often with initial capital. In full roman fish: any of several red- or pink-coloured species of seabream of the Sparidae, especially a.Chrysoblephus laticeps; dageraad sense b; but alsob.the dageraad (sense a), C. cristiceps; andc.the seventy-four (sense a), Polysteganus undulosus. In all senses formerly also called rooiman (sense 1). Also attributive.
Now commonly called ‘red roman’, but see quotation 1973. In Smith and Heemstra’s Smiths' Sea Fishes (1986), ‘roman’ is used exclusively for C. laticeps.
1804R. PercivalAcct of Cape of G.H. 43All kinds of fish peculiar to the Cape are found in this bay..The most common is the Roman fish, so called from its being caught about the rock of that name; it is a deep rose colour and of the perch kind.
1861‘A Lady’Life at Cape (1963) 45I there for the first time tasted a most delicate fish, called the ‘seventy four’ by some, and the ‘Roman’ by others, but which undoubtedly was as good as the best cod or turbot out of England.
1883M.A. Carey-HobsonFarm in Karoo 87‘What fish have they there?’ inquired Fred; ‘the sea looks quite rose colour.’ ‘They are called Romans, sir, those that are so pink.’
1891H.J. DuckittHilda’s ‘Where Is It?’ 79At the Cape the best fish for pickling are ‘Kabeljon,’ [sic] ‘Geelbeck,’ ‘Roman,’ etc.
1913C. PettmanAfricanderisms 408Roman,..Chrysophrys cristiceps, Cuv. One of the prettiest and most delicious of the South African fishes. It has given its name to the Roman Rock in False Bay, in the neighbourhood of which the fish abounded. The name, which is a corruption of ‘roodman,’ ‘rooiman,’ has reference to the deep orange colour of the fish.
1949J.L.B. SmithSea Fishes of Sn Afr. 272Chrysoblephus laticeps (Cuvier)...Roman or Red Roman (Cape). Daggerhead (Natal)...Attains 18 ins. Occurs from the Cape to Mauritius. Favours rocky ground in deepish water...Fresh from the water is a gorgeous creature.
1960G. ListerReminisc. 21One of the Dreyer boys dragged me out and just near me, in the same wave, they caught by hand a large Red Roman fish which was also being washed ashore.
1971Argus 14 May 14Standing on the bottom in 23m of water, John Hughes shot a roman of 4,1 kg — which is equal to the South African spearfishing record.
1973Farmer’s Weekly 18 Apr. 102In the piping days of plenty, the red roman was not rated among the finest of fish. Its name is a corruption from ‘rooi man’ or red man. To refer to it as ‘red’ is, therefore, just a piece of tautology.
1983Cape Times 9 July 11When they did pick up a reef which produced a few red roman or stumpnose,..hordes of small sharks and barbel devoured the entire catch.
1990S. Gray inStaffriderVol.9No.1, 50Mounds of yellow rice, studded with whole abalones, Red Romans, bordered by mussels...A Cape lobster on top.
1991M. Holmes inE. Prov. Herald 8 Mar. 18Some of the largest Red Roman I have ever seen.
1905W.F. Purcell inFlint & GilchristScience in S. Afr. 178The large nocturnal..species of Solpuga..are variously known..by the name of Romans, Jagd-spinnekoppen (Hunting Spiders) or Haarscheerders (Hair cutters), and there is a current belief that they cut off the hair of a sleeping person at night.
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