songololo, tshongololo, noun

α. songalolo, songololaShow more songalolo, songolola, songololo;
β. chongololo, shongaloloShow more chongololo, shongalolo, shongolala, shongululu, tjongololo, tshongololo.
Xhosa, ZuluShow more Xhosa i-songololo, Zulu i-shongololo (from ukushonga, ukusonga to roll up).
1. Any of several species of millipede of the Diplopoda (especially Julus terrestris) which have hard shiny exterior armour, and which curl up into a pinwheel-shaped coil when disturbed.
1913 C. Pettman Africanderisms 461Songalolo,..Julus terrestris bears this name in the Eastern Province; it refers to its habit of curling up into a coil when disturbed.
1913 J.J. Doke Secret City 149The songololo, pursuing its even path with the steady movement of a thousand feet.
1947 F.C. Slater Sel. Poems 8The grass curls up and withers — Curls, as a songololo curls At the touch of a careless foot.
1947 Kowie Announcer 21 Oct. 5Our remark the other day about rain and Songololas (the correct local native name) has brought in the following: — ‘When Songololas climb the wall, Rain must soon begin to fall’.
1956 A.G. McRae Hill Called Grazing 84The anxious scanning of roots for signs of damage by eelworm or the songololo centipede.
[1969 F.G. Butler When Boys Were Men 119‘Thousand-leg insects’ is a direct translation of Afrikaans duisendpoot i.e. millepede, probably the large variety found in the eastern Cape called songololo by Africans.]
1972 Radio South Africa 9 Feb.In one month flat kitty had cleared the place of rats — it was still lousy with snakes and scorpions and songololos, but no rats.
1977 M. Van Biljon in Sunday Times 1 May (Mag. Sect.)A songololo is..a millipede with a hard shiny exterior armour..a plague in Tamboerskloof where after the first rains they have marched in their serried ranks down the mountain, into nooks and crannies, crevices, baths, curtains, up walls, down paintings, into cupboards.
1989 T. Botha in Style June 112Songololos loll in the way of my tyres.
1990 Style Feb.’re so hungry you’re prepared to eat songololos!
1991 Style Apr. 102We share it (sc. the shower room) with the fattest, most colourful songololo we’ve ever seen.
1951 W.T. Miller Wild Life of Sn Afr. (Chapter 74)A danger..winds itself into a stiff coil and trusts the strength of its armour-plated shell...Common on the veld are little heaps of dried-out, grey and empty rings that were once the burnished armour of a tjongololo.
1977 Sunday Times 22 May 9The children tickled her..and tried to scare her with creepy-crawlies...‘They apple-pied beds and landed me with frogs and tshongololos.’
1988 T.J. Lindsay Shadow (1990) 266She saw a chongololo, a millipede.
1990 D. Capel in Personality 27 Aug. 13They have their own peculiar brand of bug, called ‘chongololos’ which eat the tobacco crop.
1992 T. Carnie in Natal Mercury 9 Nov. 7We were shown the waterhole where Dingiswayo’s sister was killed by a crocodile...why some shongalolos have lime green stripes...and the gobandlovu tree, with its famed aphrodisiac properties.
2. figurative. See quotations.
1977 Fair Lady 17 Aug. 107Xhosa women call the coiled intra uterine contraceptive device songololo — millipede!
1991 P. Mullineux Informant, GrahamstownShe told us to bring a songololo of boerewors.
1963 M. Kavanagh We Merry Peasants 149James was ready to take his chance on getting on the shongolala (creepy-crawly) train home.
1987 Sunday Times 17 May (Mag. Sect.) 8Barbie kugel with plastic hair, shongululu eyelashes, and lips thick with strawberry sherbet.
Any of several species of millipede of the Diplopoda (especially Julus terrestris) which have hard shiny exterior armour, and which curl up into a pinwheel-shaped coil when disturbed.
See quotations.
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