sweet, adjective

Origin:
Dutch
1. ?obsolete. a. Of vegetation: nutritious, and suitable for year-round use as pasture. b. Of land: bearing such vegetation. Cf. sour sense 1.
1786 G. Forster tr. of A. Sparrman’s Voy. to Cape of G.H. I. 345This tract of land seems to come under the character I have given of the Sweet grass-fields and plains towards the shore.
1835 J.W.D. Moodie Ten Yrs in S. Afr. II. 37The pasturage..was tender and sweet, which showed that the soil was naturally fruitful.
1896 R. Wallace Farming Indust. of Cape Col. 58The veld lying between the first and second chain of mountains is generally ‘sweet’, and the country excellent for live-stock.
1905 E.A. Nobbs in Flint & Gilchrist Science in S. Afr. 383The two phrases ‘sweet’ and ‘sour,’ as applied to our natural pasture land, have no connection with the usual English acceptation of the words. ‘Sweet’ implies rich land producing nutritious food whether natural or cultivated.
2. Special collocations
sweet-field, sweet-fields noun, obsolete, sweetveld (see below);
sweet grass noun phrase, nutritious grass (see quotation 1913); also attributive;
sweetveld /-felt/, /fɛlt/ noun, formerly also sweet-feldt, sweetveldt, and with initial capital [probably partial translation of Dutch zoeteveld], land providing nutritious grazing; the vegetation on such land; also attributive; cf. sourveld (see sour sense 2); see also mixed veld.
1786 G. Forster tr. of A. Sparrman’s Voy. to Cape of G.H. I. 250By the Sweet-fields (Zoete-velden) are meant such places as do not correspond to the descriptions given above of the Zuure and Carrow-veld.
1812 A. Plumptre tr. of H. Lichtenstein’s Trav. in Sn Afr. (1928) I. 63The most fertile parts where the fine grass is produced are called..sweet-fields.
1809 R. Collins in G.M. Theal Rec. of Cape Col. (1900) VII. 20That part..lying west of Storm Berg is, in general, flat, and composed of a rich vegetable mould, producing what the farmers call sweet grass in the utmost luxuriance.
1832 Graham’s Town Jrnl 22 June 101 (advt)For Sale...A Valuable Farm.., in extent 1,700 morgen, two thirds of which is sweet grass.
1838 W.B. Boyce Notes on S. Afr. Affairs 186Men should be sent from..the sweet-grass and karoo farms.
1842 R. Godlonton Sketches of E. Districts 44The greatest part of the District..is covered with a thick sward of grass, principally of that kind designated by the colonists ‘sweet grass’.
1913 C. Pettman Africanderisms 487Sweet Grass, The food plants growing on rich alluvial soil or on land of good quality are succulent and nourishing, this is termed ‘Sweet veld’ or ‘Sweet grass’.
1960 W. Plomer in D. Wright S. Afr. Stories 179An aromatic smell of burning sweet-grass sometimes drifted through the air.
1972 Grocott’s Mail 17 Nov. 2The veld consists of sweet grass and bushveld.
1850 R.G.G. Cumming Hunter’s Life (1902) 10Those from about the frontiers of the colony, or anywhere beyond the Orange River, are termed ‘Sweet-feldt’ oxen.
1871 W.G. Atherstone in A.M.L. Robinson Sel. Articles from Cape Monthly Mag. (1978) 83Zuurveldt may be made sweet veldt, by energy and industry; I have seen it done.
1881 Cape Monthly Mag. IV. May 306A good deal of the ground is sweet veldt, and therefore very valuable. Oxen and sheep seem to thrive in large numbers.
1896 R. Wallace Farming Indust. of Cape Col. 82Animals brought from sweet veld suffer from what is termed veld sickness which results from insufficient nutrition and the hard and irritating nature of the food consumed.
1910 A.B. Lamont Rural Reader 253Sweet veld is found on good land that gets plenty of rain, and is so called because the grasses growing on it are sweet and juicy, and well liked by stock.
1930 Friend 25 Aug. 12 (advt)The farm is fenced and divided into eight camps; Grazing — Excellent sweet veld.
1937 Handbk for Farmers (Dept of Agric. & Forestry) 381The types of grass found in the Sweetveld maintain their feed value after maturity and to a large extent even after they have been frosted.
1948 E. Rosenthal Afr. Switzerland 128Commonest of all is..‘red grass’, estimated to grow on more than half the countryside. The old Boers called it ‘Sweet Veld,’ to distinguish it from the dreaded ‘Sour Grass’.
1957 Handbk for Farmers (Dept of Agric.) II. 620The most distinctive characteristic of sweetveld is that it retains a comparatively high nutritive value through all stages of growth.
1968 Farmer’s Weekly 3 Jan. 92 (advt)Suitable for dairy or cattle farm. Sweet veld.
1981 J.B. Peires House of Phalo 9Sweetveld remained nutritious throughout the year but it was very fragile, and it was believed..that an excess caused consumption in cattle.
1992 Weekend Post 17 Oct. (Leisure) 5The sweetveld savannah plains which surround Etosha Pan, on the Kalahari Beds, contain a myriad of game and other life forms.
1992 [see mixed veld].
nutritious, and suitable for year-round use as pasture.
bearing such vegetation.
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17861992