sisi, noun

Also sissie, sissy, and with initial capital.
AfrikaansShow more Adaptation of Afrikaans sussie sister.
1. Sister. Cf. bhuti, ousie, sis noun2, sister, sussie, suster.
a. In the form sisi /ˈsiːsi/, among speakers of Sintu (Bantu) languages: i. A courteous form of address to a woman (see quotation 1963). ii. A title, used with a name. iii. A common noun: a woman.
1963 A. Fugard Blood Knot (1968) 103Sister, Sissy, they say, for short.
1963 A.M. Louw 20 Days 232He had called: ‘Sisi, I am a man without a home. May I come into your house to shelter from the rain?’
1963 Wilson & Mafeje Langa 88Sisi (from the Afrikaans — ‘sussie’) without any possessive pronoun, is in general use as a polite form of address by a woman to a senior contemporary. It is used by a bride, for all her sisters-in-law over puberty, replacing ‘mother-of-so-and-so’ in address..and in the country it is used by all unmarried girls in addressing young married women.
1973 Drum 22 Sept. 63Why does this sisi sit like this when she sits for a photograph?
1976 R.E. Peteni Hill of Fools 14‘Why did those girls attack you, sisi?’ ‘I really don’t know.’
1979 M. Matshoba Call Me Not a Man 111I approached the tiny woman...I immediately felt like offering her some kind of protection. ‘Er, sorry, sisi,’ I said to her.
1980 M. Mzamane in M. Mutloatse Forced Landing 25‘I know you weren’t chasing me away, Sisi,’ I say, ‘but I was already on my way out.’
1982 Drum July 114Soweto singer, Sophia Mgcina is said to be on the verge of cracking the international market. Sis now under the wings of Letta Mbulu and Miriam Makeba.
1989 J. Hobbs Thoughts in Makeshift Mortuary 89This is Sister Quthing. Sisi — Mr Kimber.
1989 J. Hobbs Thoughts in Makeshift Mortuary 238Don’t forget, these people are crazy in the head about staying pure and unadulterated, Sisi.
b. Offensive to many. Usually in the Englished forms sissie and sissy /ˈsɪsi/. Especially in the Eastern Cape: i. A term of address or reference to a black woman (often a domestic worker) whose name is unknown. ii. A common noun: a domestic worker.
Habitually used by students and schoolchildren in the Eastern Cape for domestic workers in universities and schools (the male equivalent being boetie, see boetie sense 4).
1971 Poster, Rhodes Univ.We need you to teach Sissies and waiters to write.
1976 Rhodeo (Rhodes Univ.) 29 Apr.Of staff a Grahamstown psychologist says the sissies have the roughest deal...Two daily free meals provided for sissies.
1977 Oppidan (Rhodes Univ.) JuneHe does not like the way students treat the waitresses. ‘There are continual screams of “sissie”, “sissie” at meals. They don’t even bother to find out the names.’
1979 Daily Dispatch 23 Mar. (Indaba) 1The customer said she hated the way they were addressed by the woman, who refers to them as ‘sissie’.
1980 J. Cock Maids & Madams 94In Victorian England, servants were deliberately depersonalised and often called by standardised names...In the Eastern Cape black women are generally called ‘Sissy’, which indicates something of the same depersonalisation mechanism at work.
1981 Rhodeo (Rhodes Univ.) MayOther matters are now being investigated: the diet of the ‘sissies’, the salaries of black workers.
2. see quotation 1966.
1966 C.A. Smith Common Names 417Sissie, Several species of plants with umbellate or closely grouped flowers go by this vernacular name, which is perhaps a corruption of ‘sussie’ (little sister) in allusion to the groups of similar flowers. The various species are distinguished by some character or habitat prefix, e.g.: Adenandra fragrans, see klipkissie, a name sometimes also applied to Lachenalia tricolor..; Erica ampullacea, see flask heath; Rochea jasminea.
1984 A. Wannenburgh Natural Wonder of Sn Afr. 76Sissies, a member of the Penaeceae family endemic to the south-western Cape, has an even more restricted distribution range as it occurs only in the Cape Peninsula.
A courteous form of address to a woman (see quotation 1963).
A title, used with a name.
a woman.
A term of address or reference to a black woman (often a domestic worker) whose name is unknown.
A common noun: a domestic worker.
see quotation 1966.
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