sysie, noun

Forms:
saasie, saysieShow more Also saasie, saysie, seisje, sijsje, syssie.
Origin:
Afrikaans, DutchShow more Afrikaans, adaptation and transferred use of Dutch sijsje linnet, siskin.
a. Any of numerous species of song-birds of the genus Serinus of the Fringillidae. See also berg canary (berg sense 1 b ii), Cape canary (Cape sense 2 a).
1861 A Lady Life at Cape (1963) 28There is a yellow and brown finch, called the saasie which runs up and down a limited scale with much sweetness and expression, but the singing is soft and subdued, and, as it were, lisped out.
1910 D. Fairbridge That Which Hath Been (1913) 53They had left Stellenbosch at an hour when even the sparrows and seisjes were still sleeping, long before the false dawn had whitened the eastern sky.
1913 C. Pettman Africanderisms 442Sijsie,..The name appears to be onomatopoetic [sic] in its origin, and to be connected to the Dutch sissen, to hiss.
1924 D. Fairbridge Gardens of S. Afr. 99The Turtle-dove feeds largely on the seeds of weeds, so do all the Seisjes — those sweet singers of the veld.
b. With distinguishing epithet:
dik-bek sysie obsolete [Afrikaans, dik thick + bek beak], the canary Serinus albogularis; also occasionally called berg sysie (see quotation 1923);
geel sysie obsolete [Afrikaans, geel yellow], the bully, S. sulphuratus;
klein sysie obsolete [Afrikaans, klein small, lesser], the yellow canary S. flaviventris.
1913 C. Pettman Africanderisms 144Dik-bek sysie,..Serinus albigularis.
1923 Haagner & Ivy Sketches of S. Afr. Bird-Life 146A vastly different bird is the sombre-plumaged White-throated Seedeater (S. albigularis) called ‘Dik-bek Seisje’ or ‘Berg-seisje’ by the Colonial boys. It is of an ashy-brown colour streaked on the back with darker brown.
1908 Haagner & Ivy Sketches of S. Afr. Bird-Life 84The Large Yellow Seedeater (Serinus sulphuratus), the ‘Geel-seisje’ and ‘Bully’ of the Colonial boys, and its smaller congeners, the Kleine seisjes (S. flaviventris and S. marshalli) make handsome cage birds in their greenish-yellow and bright golden yellow colours.
1958 I. Vaughan Diary 52We put them in a big cage in the garden where they all sing. They are cape canareys, blackheads and geel sysies.
1900 Stark & Sclater Birds of S. Afr. I. 171Although not such a favourite cage-bird as the ‘Cape Canarie’, the ‘Kleine Seisje’ is by no means a despicable songster.
1908 [see quot. at geel sysie above].
Any of numerous species of song-birds of the genus Serinus of the Fringillidae.

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18611958