stel, noun

/stel/, /stɛl/
Forms:
Also stell, still.
Origin:
South African Dutch, DutchShow more South African Dutch, from Dutch stelle place, position. ‘The meaning..is derived from the plan..of placing traps, or setting spring-guns, for the destruction of beasts of prey; the meaning has been transferred from the place to the trap itself.’ (C. Pettman, Africanderisms, 1913).
1. obsolete. A trap for wild animals; a spring-gun.
1801 J. Barrow Trav. I. 360The animal had been shot through the body by a stell-roar or trap-gun, set by a Hottentot.
1852 C. Barter Dorp & Veld 116As soon as he (sc. the wolf) has seized the bait.., he tightens the string, releases the trigger, and if the stel is properly set, receives the bullet in his head.
1894 W.C. Baldwin Afr. Hunting 377The lions had killed two zebras.., and I set a stell (spring-gun) for them by the remains of one of the zebras.
1894 W.C. Baldwin Afr. Hunting 381The Masaras set these spears (stells) for rhinoceros and other game.
1895 J.G. Millais Breath from Veldt (1899) 264A ‘still’..is formed by two rifles fixed to trees or posts.
2. transferred sense. A trap used in witchcraft.
1957 L.G. Green Beyond City Lights 79Sometimes you may still come across a stel put out in the path of an intended victim of witchcraft. The stel is a circle, drawn on the earth, with a nail or some other object in the centre. If the victim puts his foot within the circle then he is bewitched. Ignorant people who believe in toondery are indeed seriously influenced.
A trap for wild animals; a spring-gun.
A trap used in witchcraft.

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18011957