17th century Dutch, French, EnglishShow more Probably from 17th century Dutch sa at him, come on (cf. French ca, used (repetitively) to incite an opponent in fencing, and obsolete English sessa, used to rouse fighting dogs).
An exhortation used to urge dogs (or, less frequently, other animals or people) to attack; tsaa.
Often used repetitively.
1790tr. ofF. Le Vaillant’s Trav.I. 71I had been told that..I must not say saa, saa, for that word would render the beast furious, and that he would rush on the person that uttered it...I..repeated the word for a hundred times together, by the way of encouraging the dogs, and likewise to drive the beast from the thicket.
1899G.H. RussellUnder Sjambok 86He was still on the leash, and could hear their cries of ‘sar, sar’ (a South African term used to hiss on a dog).
1941G.H. CalpinThere Are No S. Africans 361In the midst of this morning disaffection, with the fear of fifth columnists lurking in every block of flats, the cry of ‘Sa, sa’ (‘Catch him, catch him’) was heard.
1946S. CloeteAfr. Portraits 41He was asked if he would lead the Boers, and said, ‘When I have a hunting dog, and I say “Sah,” he attacks. I am not yet certain if the people are ready — if I say, “Sah,” that they will fight’.
1969A. FugardBoesman & Lena 39Then they must run. It will chase you too. Sa!
1986J. ConynghamArrowing of Cane 9‘Sa Brutus!’ The boxer — he is too much his own to be called my — plunges into the bugweed from the dirt road.
1989F.G. ButlerTales from Old Karoo 152His two dogs did not come bouncing up to welcome Henry; they were waiting next to Stoffel, as if expecting to be sent into action on the word ‘Sa!’
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