stiver, stuiver, noun

Forms:
stuiwer, stuyverShow more Also stuiwer, stuyver, styver.
Origin:
DutchShow more Dutch stuiver, of obscure origin.
historical
Note:
Not exclusively South African English.
1. The smallest monetary unit in use at the Cape under the Dutch East India Company, being the sixth part of a schelling (or skilling) and the forty-eighth part of a rix-dollar, roughly equivalent to a half-penny sterling. See also dubbeltje noun2 sense 1.
1697 W. Dampier in R. Raven-Hart Cape G.H. 1652–1702 (1971) 382A Flask of Wine which holds 3 quarts will cost 18 stivers, for so much I paid for it.
1786 G. Forster tr. of A. Sparrman’s Voy. to Cape of G.H. I. 245This quantity [of butter] is carried to the Cape in one or two journies, and is sold at the rate of from three to six stivers a pound.
1798 S.H. Wilcocke tr. of J.S. Stavorinus’s Voy. to E. Indies II. 84The..solid gum..is packed in wooden boxes..and is sold at the Cape for three and four stivers per pound.
1806 D. Baird in Cape Town Gaz. & AdvertiserI..direct that these Penny Pieces are henceforth to pass current in this Settlement for two stivers currency, or the third part of a Paper Skilling.
1822 W.J. Burchell Trav. I. 79Six stuivers are equal to one schelling, and eight schellings to one rix-dollar or four shillings currency; but the value of this currency is excessively reduced by the rate of exchange, which, in 1810, was 33 per cent. in favour of England; and has, since that time, gradually risen to above 120.
1832 Graham’s Town Jrnl 6 Apr. 59This puts many a good vrouw on the fidgets, some of whom have nearly a dozen small bags of different sorts of choice dried fruits for sale, and stivers are objects of consequence to them.
1833 S. Afr. Almanac & Dir. 42Accounts are kept either in Pounds, Shillings, Pence, and Farthings, or Rix Dollars, Skillings, and Stivers. 1 Stiver equal to 3/8 of a Penny. 6 Stivers equal to 2¼ Pence, or 1 Skilling. 8 Skillings equal to 18 Pence, or 1 Rix-dollar.
c1936 S. & E. Afr. Yr Bk & Guide 1023The old Cape Dutch Coinage consisted of the Rix dollar, 4s.; the Gulden, 1s. 4d.; the schilling, 6d.; and the stuiver, 1d.
1951 L.G. Green Grow Lovely 85There the settlers grumbled at the price of eland or hartebeest and paid three stivers a pound for mutton when they could get it. A dressed penguin could be had for a stiver.
1968 K. McMagh Dinner of Herbs 5The smallest urchin with no more than a ‘stuiwer’ clasped in his damp grubby little paw could find something to buy.
1976 A.R. Willcox Sn Land 153From the first the Directors of the Company, who counted every stuiver, complained about the ‘overwhelming expenditure’ in maintaining the station.
1981 Flying Springbok Dec. 55The first postal ‘stamping’ of letters in the Cape came into operation of 2 March 1792. The stamp indicated that 6 stuivers had been paid to the ‘Vereenigde Nederlandsche Oost-Indische Compagnie’ for the conveyance of the letter.
2. figurative. A little; a small amount; something of little value.
1822 W.J. Burchell Trav. I. 248The weather being a little chilly, the mother, in the true colonial style, observed that, down in the Karro, it was only a stuyver cold, but that we should find a ducatoon cold, up in the Roggeveld.
1883 O.E.A. Schreiner Story of Afr. Farm 77‘That boy Waldo’, said Bonaparte, rubbing his toes, ‘took himself off coolly this morning as soon as the waggon came, and has not done a stiver of work all day’.
1910 D. Fairbridge That Which Hath Been (1913) 170There are many at home who regard this Colony as an expensive superfluity, and who would rather see it fall into the hands of France to-morrow than vote a stiver for its defence.
1972 A. Scholefield Wild Dog Running 101Oh, aye, the crop. I suppose you’ll have a few stuivers in your purse then, but that’s no living, m’dear.
The smallest monetary unit in use at the Cape under the Dutch East India Company, being the sixth part of a schelling (or skilling) and the forty-eighth part of a rix-dollar, roughly equivalent to a half-penny sterling.
A little; a small amount; something of little value.
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