skoffel, verb

schoffel, scoffleShow more Formerly also schoffel, scoffle, scuffle.
Afrikaans, DutchShow more Afrikaans, from Dutch schoffelen.
Commonly used in the farming community.
a. intransitive. To work with a hoe.
1882 S. Heckford Lady Trader in Tvl 78He..had the right to order the women to weed or to scoffle, as it is called here, giving them a basket of peaches in return.
1893 A. Smith Short Papers on S. Afr. Subjects 42The flowering of the wild chestnut..and the ripening of the fruit on the Kaffir plum, show that it is time [to] scuffle.
1894 E. Glanville Fair Colonist 115Keep the men well to their work ploughing and scoffling in the mealie-fields.
1916 L.D. Flemming Fool on Veld (1933) 88Hadn’t we dug, and blown up, and schoffeled and pummelled and picked for weeks trying to remove prehistoric deposits.
1963 M. Kavanagh We Merry Peasants 147James had been skoffeling (hoeing) in the vegetable garden after rain when snails in the Cape invade as armies.
1976 Darling 3 Mar. 67She..hates working in the vegetable patch. ‘I can’t take a hoe and skoffel.’
1989 I. Vladislavić Missing Persons 1The garden was veld...The way to get the grass out is to attack the roots. You can’t skoffel with a spade — it grows back. You have to work a fork in around each tuft, loosen the earth, stick a hose-pipe in among the roots, turn it on full-blast, blow the soil away.
b. transitive. To weed (a piece of land) with a hoe.
1908 F.C. Slater Sunburnt South 142I swallowed the dop as I worked and kept steadily on. And, three days I skoffeled a ‘land’ of potatoes which had taken my wife and three of my sons a week to do the previous year.
1949 C. Bullock Rina 226In a little time they came back with bundles of long, dry grass; and, having skoffled my chosen spot in the open, laid down my bed with a ceremonious foot-log at the end of it.
1991 [see kosmos].
To work with a hoe.
To weed (a piece of land) with a hoe.
Hence skoffeler noun, one who hoes; a mechanical cultivator (also attributive); skoffeling verbal noun, also scoffling, hoeing.
1904 E. London Dispatch 16 Sept. 4In the native lands, where the owner cannot rise to a 75, the scoffler is busy with the hoe.
1913 C. Pettman Africanderisms 431Schoffler, One who clears the ground by ‘schoffeling’.
1948 O. Walker Kaffirs Are Lively 47The rest is the woman’s sphere — the planting, the skoffeling or hoeing, the weeding and the harvesting.
1954 K. Cowin Bushveld, Bananas & Bounty 178Burrweed sprang up so thick and fast on the dry land that hand scoffling was impossible, and we had to plough the land again and the cotton with it.
1972 Daily Dispatch 17 May 158 scoffler oxen, 6 baby beef.
1973 E. Prov. Herald 30 May 191 3-point Linkage Scoffler; 1 Plough.
1993 L. Grant in Weekend Post 13 Nov. 4There was a great demand for mules for ploughing and skoffeling at the moment.
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