skilpad, noun

Forms:
schilpad, schelpatShow more Also schilpad, schelpat, schoelpat, skelpad, skellpot, skelpot, skilpot.
Origin:
Afrikaans, DutchShow more Afrikaans, from Dutch schilpad tortoise, turtle (schild shield + pad toad).
a. ?obsolete. A tortoise. Also figurative.
1844 J. Backhouse Narr. of Visit 489Tortoises of various species, are also numerous; their colonial name is Skilpot, which is a corruption of Schildpat, Shield-toad.
1862 A Lady Life at Cape (1963) 107I have had the tiny shells of the little ‘schoelpats’..slightly lacquered. They are used by some natives to hold money and snuff.
1863 Lady Duff-Gordon in F. Galton Vacation Tourists (1864) III. 194On the road I chased and captured a pair or remarkable swift and handsome little ‘Schelpats’. That you may duly appreciate such a feat of valour and activity, I will inform you that their English name is ‘tortoise’.
1896 E. Glanville Tales from Veld 43The skelpot he’s got a head like a puff-adder.
1905 W.L. Sclater in Flint & Gilchrist Science in S. Afr. 144The Leopard Tortoise (Testudo pardalis)..attains a length of about 2 to 3 feet...This species..are frequently to be seen wandering about on the Karroo and are often kept as pets by the farmers, who call them ‘schild pad’.
1911 P. Gibbon Margaret Harding 260She’s got no more the spirit of a real lady than a cow has...For two pins I’d tell her so, the old cross-eyed skellpot.
1931 F.C. Slater Secret Veld 277The ‘skilpad’ (tortoise) is the slowest of animals, well, the good Lord gave him a shell to protect him from the swift snakes.
1936 C. Birkby Thirstland Treks 68He met a skilpad, a tortoise, and he had a game of races.
1938 F.C. Slater Trek 7Wagon on tented wagon, one by one, Drawn by slow-footed oxen, followed on, Lumbering like giant skilpads, slow and sure, In long procession.
b. combinations
skilpad beetle, see quotation 1916;
skilpadbessie /-besi/, formerly also skildpad-besjie, skildpatbesje, [Afrikaans, bessie (earlier South African Dutch besje) berry], duinebessie;
skilpadblom /-blɔm/ [Afrikaans, blom flower], the plant parasite Hyobanche sanguinea (see aardroos);
skilpadbos /-bɔs/ [Afrikaans, bos bush], any of several species of Dorotheanthus; also called vygie;
skilpadkos /-kɔs/ [Afrikaans, kos food], skilpadblom (see above);
skilpadtrek, formerly also schilpad trick [Afrikaans, trek pull; in earlier quotations this word seems to have been interpreted as English trick feat of dexterity or skill], see quotation 1913; also attributive.
1918 S.H. Skaife Animal Life in S. Afr. 103Many of them (sc. the chrysomelid beetles) closely resemble ladybirds..; others look something like a miniature tortoise and are popularly known as schilpad beetles.
[1837skilpadbessie: Ecklon & Zeyher Enumeratio Plantarum Africae 29Mundia spinosa...‘Skildpadbesjes’ cognitis, vescuntur incolae.]
1868 L. Pappe Florae Capensis 2The fruit..is eaten by children and Hottentots who call them Skildpatbesjes.
1887 S.W. Silver & Co.’s Handbk to S. Afr. 139Skildpad-besjies, though somewhat astringent in taste, are eaten by Hottentots and children. They are the fruit of the Mundtia spinosa, D.C., a decoction of the tops of the branches of which is used in atrophy, phthisis, &c...It grows abundantly on the downs.
1894 R. Marloth in Trans. of S. Afr. Phil. Soc. p.lxxxviEatable berries occur, among others, on Mundtia spinosa (schildpad besjes),..Cissus Capensis (wild grape),..Aberia Caffra (Kei apple), [etc.].
1917 R. Marloth Dict. of Common Names of Plants 73Schildpad bessie = Duinebessie.
1966 C.A. Smith Common Names 419Skilpadbessie,..Fruit a juicy, acidulous berry...Formerly collected in quantity by the Cape Malays and hawked in the streets of Cape Town.
1971 L.G. Green Taste of S.-Easter 161Amber honey from skilpadbessies on the dunes was good and Rawlins had tasted some with distinct herbal flavours.
1975 W. Steenkamp Land of Thirst King 130Two one-time favourites, the bokbessie (goat-berry) and skilpadbessie (tortoise-berry) grow on bushes.
1983 M. Du Plessis State of Fear 186Skilpadbessie, The low, untidy bush with the small, translucent globes that hang and dip in amongst its spiky leaves.
1984 A. Wannenburgh Natural Wonder of Sn Afr. 53A parasite on the roots of bushy plants, the vivid skilpadblom was known as the inkblom in early colonial times because..the flowers were used to make ink.
1913 C. Pettman Africanderisms 429Schilpad bos, The name given in Namaqualand to a bush the seed-pods of which are not unlike a tortoise’s head in shape.
1917 R. Marloth Dict. of Common Names of Plants 73Schildpad bos, Zygophyllum Morgsana.
1973 E. Prov. Herald 28 Feb. 4In the dry sub-tropical route was found migration of the gifboom, melkbos (or spurge), honey locust, blackthorn and skilpadbos (or vygie).
1984 Motorist 3rd Quarter 25Mesembryanthemums (vygies) provide almost translucent shades of shimmering colours. Skilpadbos (Zygophyllum species) have a strange affection for the sandy wastes.
1988 M. Branch Explore Cape Flora 34The velvety snail flower, Hyobanche, has..been given many interesting names...The fleshy fruits are eaten by animals, especially tortoises, so it is also called skilpadkos.
1864 T. Baines Explor. in S.-W. Afr. 386Two of the drivers, Jan and Harry, performed the ‘schildpat’ (tortoise) trick; i.e. a rein is passed round the neck of each, they then, with the bight passing between their legs, go on all-fours, and exert their strength in trying to run away with each other.
1913 C. Pettman Africanderisms 429Schilpad trick, A game in which two boys fasten themselves together with a riem round the waist or neck, then turning their backs to each other and going upon all fours, the riem passing between their legs, each tries to pull the other, the one who succeeds in pulling his opponent after him, does the trick or trek.
1973 Beeton & Dorner in Eng. Usage in Sn Afr. Vol.4 No.2, 51Skilpad trek,..old Afrikaner game..; the attitude, manner of crawling & position is reminiscent of the movement of a tortoise..hence the name.
1988 Sunday Times 3 July 22There is to be a national boeresport championships...Whoever emerges as the kennetjie winners, or skilpad-trek winners, will be world champions.
A tortoise. Also figurative.
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