sa, interjection

saa, sahShow more Also saa, sah, sar.
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.
1790 tr. of F. 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.
1899 G.H. Russell Under 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).
1941 G.H. Calpin There 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.
1946 S. Cloete Afr. 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’.
1969 A. Fugard Boesman & Lena 39Then they must run. It will chase you too. Sa!
1986 J. Conyngham Arrowing 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.
1989 F.G. Butler Tales 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!’
An exhortation used to urge dogs (or, less frequently, other animals or people) to attack; tsaa.
Hence sa intransitive verb, to go in to the attack.
1982 Sunday Times 19 Sept. 25After I heard one of the men tell the dogs to ‘sa!’ they attacked me.
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