sundowner, noun

A colonial usage, perhaps originating in West Africa (see quotation 1909).
1. A drink taken in the early evening; a pre-dinner cocktail. Also attributive.
[1909 Daily Chron. (U.K.) 20 Oct. 6The ‘sundowner’ refreshment of the West African late afternoon.]
1922 Chambers’s Jrnl (U.K.) 359As a rule he did not even take the almost universal ‘sundowner’ for he felt that he could not afford to spend his very meagre profits on luxuries.
1937 G.F. Gibson Story of Imp. Light Horse 215The A.D.C., with a touch of military genius, said..: ‘I think, Sir, it is about time for a “sundowner!”’ The General judicially agreed. The A.D.C. then produced a flask from his saddle wallet, which he offered to the General.
1947 C.R. Prance Antic Mem. 81Over sundowners, it was arranged that after an early breakfast Chips should meet the Vet. at Oom Philip’s stable.
1953 D. Jacobson Long Way from London 33When Bridget came home from work, there was a sundowner; sherry for the women, whisky and soda for the father.
1959 L. Longmore Dispossessed 223Africans have observed the function of European liquor in the life of the average white man. They see him enjoy a ‘sundowner’ with a few friends; they see them go into bars together.
1961 T. Matshikiza Choc. for my Wife 32When you’re big, and you’ve done your work, then pour yourself a sundowner. But never a sun-drowner, my lad.
1968 L.G. Green Full Many Glorious Morning 165This sundowner habit of ours goes back to the early days...All the Pioneers believed that whisky kept the fever away and we observe the legend.
1973 Drum 8 Oct. 19After a hard day’s work friends who stay in different townships..would like to have a little chat over a sundowner before going their ways. Just how petty it is that they are not allowed to do this!
1985 S. Afr. Panorama Jan. 47As dusk falls, the ranger..invites guests to stretch their legs and enjoy a sundowner and sosaties (kebabs).
2. obsolescent. An evening cocktail party. Also attributive.
1944 Twede in Bevel Piet Kolonel 105It will always be memorable that Mr. and Mrs. Ferdie Ballot threw open the doors of their house and cellar to all the officers of the Battalion on the occasion of a sundowner.
1956 H. Van Rensburg Their Paths Crossed Mine 154I called the Brigade Staff together (including members who had not been on the invitation list to the possible sun-downer of the evening before) and said that I felt we should understand each other.
1962 Pretoria News 9 Nov. 9The war raged on, much to the delight of our sundowner guests.
1972 Caravan May 61Ras..celebrated his birthday and invited all to a sundowner.
1973 Cape Argus 24 Feb. (Mag. Sect.) 2Bearing in mind some rather tart remarks made at last night’s sundowner party, he made the forthright statement: ‘Mrs Smith very bad.’
A drink taken in the early evening; a pre-dinner cocktail. Also attributive.
An evening cocktail party. Also attributive.
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