DSAE test file

smell, verb

Origin:
Translation of the Nguni word nuka; cf. isanusi.
a. transitive. Usually in the phrase to smell out. In traditional African medicine: To detect or discover (an evil-doer or source of misfortune) by supernatural means. See also umhlahlo, witchdoctor.
1836 C.L. Stretch Journal. 254After some time spent in smelling the invalid, the articles in the hut, &c. the Doctor declares such a one is the witch.
1991 Settler Vol.65 No.1, 3The shield is used for dancing and the tail switch of a cow for smelling out spirits.
b. intransitive. rare. To perform the ritual by which an evil influence is identified.
1959 L. Longmore Dispossessed 176Africans have lost confidence in all European doctors who ask for histories of illnesses and the painful areas of the body. They want the doctor to ‘smell out’.
To detect or discover (an evil-doer or source of misfortune) by supernatural means.
To perform the ritual by which an evil influence is identified.
Derivatives:
Hence smeller out noun phrase, isanusi.
1837 F. Owen Diary (1926) 58They are not even afraid of the ‘smellers out’.
1954 G. Magwaza in Drum Jan. 49The smellers out were ‘D- boys’ who wanted everybody to follow the ‘D- line’.

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18361991

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