sloot, noun

Forms:
α. sloat, sloetShow more sloat, sloet, sloot, slote;
β. sluit.
Origin:
South African Dutch, Afrikaans, DutchShow more South African Dutch, later Afrikaans (from Dutch sloot ditch). The form sluit is perhaps a pronunciation-spelling on the analogy of fruit; but it has also been suggested that it is a confusion between sloot and spruit (the latter being occasionally pronounced /spruːt/).
1. Especially during the 19th century: a narrow water-channel constructed for the flood-irrigation of gardens or farm-lands; furrow; water-furrow. See also lead.
α.
1818 C.I. Latrobe Jrnl of Visit 187It has..water in abundance, brought by a slote, or canal, from a considerable distance.
1844 J. Backhouse Narr. of Visit 216He had formed a dam in the Tyamie River, and had cut a waterditch or sloat, by which a considerable piece of ground was irrigated.
1852 A. Essex in A. Rabone Rec. of Pioneer Family (1966) 33The Sunday’s River, a stream which you can generally walk across.., the greater part of the water being dammed up and led through the town in open gutters called sloots so as to irrigate the gardens and furnish the inhabitants with water for domestic purposes.
1852 C. Barter Dorp & Veld 33Going on one dark night to a friend’s house, and keeping in the middle of the road to avoid the sloots, I stumbled over..a large black ox.
1861 Lady Duff-Gordon Lett. from Cape (1925) 69There is no water but what runs down the streets in the sloot, a paved channel, which brings the water from the mountains and supplies the houses and gardens.
1880 E.F. Sandeman Eight Months in Ox-Waggon 38The noisy..croaking of innumerable frogs in all the sloots running along each side of the streets.
1921 H.J. Mandelbrote tr. of O.F. Mentzel’s Descr. of Cape of G.H. I. 119The garden is advantageously situated for watering purposes...Each flower or vegetable bed is surrounded by sloots and water-furrows.
1965 C. Van Heyningen Orange Days 26The water that ran past the house..was in an open sloot, not cemented out. Besides being used for household purposes it was also used for watering the garden.
β.
1857 W. Atmore in Cape Monthly Mag. II. Sept. 130Referring again to the sketch, the dotted lines represent the right of passage water-sluits.
1867 Blue Bk for Col. 1866 JJ41The water of the Cogman’s River has been led into the farm ‘Karpad’ by means of a long drain or sluit, built by the side of the bed of the river, almost entirely of stone.
1882 C. Du Val With Show through Sn Afr. I. 273The dropping into two or three sluits on the way home had the effect of often restoring sobriety to an intoxicated brain, and the skipping over the furrows formed an invigorating exercise.
1898 J.F. Ingram Story of Afr. City 66The system of water supply established by the original Dutch settlers was that of open watercourses called ‘sluits’, by means of which the supply was led through the streets.
1902 W.C. Scully Harrow 3Not a sound would be audible except the murmurous cadences of the water running down the ‘sluits’ on either side. These sluits are paved with round, water-worn stones and, except in rainy or very windy weather, keep the water crystal-clear.
1910 J. Runcie Idylls by Two Oceans 80A man came out of a house while I was sitting by a sluit, Wynberg way.
1934 B.I. Buchanan Pioneer Days 15Until 1887 the town was supplied with water from the Dorp Spruit, led in open sluits along the edge of the streets...The sluits, often shrouded in grass, were veritable man traps for the unwary pedestrian.
1953 U. Krige Dream & Desert 90Soon he had turned into Dorpstraat, the long oak-shadowed street leading out of the town. On either side the water sang in the sluits.
1975 Het Suid-Western 30 Jan.A determined fight is being put up by Mrs. Olive van der S— to save the picturesque little sluit with running water that flows down the side of Caledon Street before it is closed in by the municipality — and replaced by an underground pipe.
2. A ditch; a gully eroded by water; cf. donga. Also (rarely) figurative (see quotation 1974).
α.
1850 J.D. Lewins Diary. 5 Aug.Dug some holes in sloot on hill opposite house for willows, also some in vley watercourse, to be planted towards sun-down.
1873 F. Boyle To Cape for DiamondsThe leading horses were observed, or felt, to take a flying leap. Investigation showed them to have cleared a sloot some five feet deep which ran across the veldt.
1883 O.E.A. Schreiner Story of Afr. Farm 234What it could not swallow ran off in mad rivulets to the great ‘sloot,’ that now foamed like an angry river across the flat.
1914 L.H. Brinkman Breath of Karroo 233The undertaking would be too hazardous, owing to the number of sloots and hollows traversing the road, which would soon be in flood and impassable.
1932 Grocott’s Daily Mail 31 Mar. 4The larger sloots have been dammed by means of rubble walls reinforced with wire-netting.
1949 J. Mockford Golden Land 214If a sloot (gully) is come to, so wide and deep that the bucks cannot leap over or go through it, the front ranks are forced in until it is levelled up with their bodies, when the mass marches over and continues its irresistible way.
1958 I. Vaughan Diary 6There is..a big sloot at the back side of houses which has not water except when it rains.
1971 Star 18 Sept. 12Water is already running quite strongly in the sloots and veld pitfalls are completely disguised by the snow.
1990 Grocott’s Mail 6 July 8He has telephoned the Provincial Roads Inspector in Port Elizabeth. Since then potholes and sloots had been filled.
β.
1851 J.F. Churchill Diary. (Killie Campbell Africana Library MS37) 21 Oct.Rode out by the road but across country over sluits & stony ground.
1857 C. in Cape Monthly Mag. I. June 374Through the rivers, across the sluits, Over the mountains and into the spruits, As fast as can drag it the half-fed brutes, Away like a flash of lightning it shoots. So merrily goes the post-cart.
1863 W.C. Baldwin Afr. Hunting 30On coming into a mud sluit..the sudden check of the wagon threw me off.
1872 E.J. Dunn in A.M.L. Robinson Sel. Articles from Cape Monthly Mag. (1978) 58How many ages must have elapsed while this great sluit was being eroded! Below the fall is a huge channel cut in solid hard gneiss for a depth of about 200 feet, a width of 600 or 700 feet, and three or four miles long.
1881 Meteor 25 July 1If the Town Council do not do something to the sluit in African Street, near the residence of Mr. S. Bax, there will be a serious accident to someone.
1910 Rand Daily Mail 10 May 3It is absolutely necessary that farmers should understand the enormous damage done by these sluits or dongas.
c1911 E. Glanville in S. Playne Cape Col. 661The wind strips off the top dressing, the summer floods wash the silt into the sluits, and millions of tons of good soil are rushed off into the sea.
1926 P.W. Laidler Tavern of Ocean 55Very soon the trampling of oxen, the rutting of wheels, and the erosive action of strong winds and rain on the bared ground caused sluits and holes which were dangerous to traffic.
1963 S. Cloete Rags of Glory 284Veld paths ran like streams. Sluits became rivers.
1973 C. Hallack in Weekend Post 31 Mar. 2One old dame dressed in the usual black frock with a small sluit amidships, where the strings of her apron marked the half-way boundary of her baggy form.
1977 F.G. Butler Karoo Morning 112Innumerable globules of water. Gutters, runnels, sluits, dongas, rivers, receive the fluid which has cut and carved them, which is cutting and carving them now.
1980 E. Joubert Long Journey of Poppie Nongena 206The whole Mdantsane was sluits everywhere that overflowed when it rained.
a narrow water-channel constructed for the flood-irrigation of gardens or farm-lands; furrow; water-furrow.
A ditch; a gully eroded by water;
Derivatives:
Hence (sense 2) slooting noun (obsolete), soil erosion caused by water.
1910 A.B. Lamont Rural Reader 265The evils of sluiting might be decreased by planting trees on mountain slopes and on bare karoo.
1932 Grocott’s Daily Mail 31 Mar. 4Deviating the stormwater on to hard formation to prevent slooting.

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18181990

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