tropsluiter, noun

Origin:
Afrikaans, DutchShow more Afrikaans, professional mourner, from Dutch trop crowd, multitude + sluiten to close + agential suffix -er.
historical
One hired to walk at the end of a funeral procession, thus extending its length. See also huilebalk.
1926 P.W. Laidler Tavern of Ocean 157Funerals were pageants not soon forgotten. Professional mourners — ‘huilbaken,’ as they were called — accompanied the coffin and were paid to weep copiously. For eighteen pence a head ‘tropsluiters’ or extra individuals to lengthen the procession, in number according to the rank of the deceased, could be obtained.
1927 C.G. Botha Social Life in Cape Col. 65There was also another class of paid mourners called ‘tropsluiters,’ who had to follow in pairs at the rear of the procession.
1952 G.M. Mills First Ladies of Cape 76The huilbalken were distinct from the tropsluiters who were merely employed to lengthen the procession. The tropsluiters always changed places with one another as they walked in the procession, because of the superstition that the last person following the deceased, would be the first to die.
1965 A. Gordon-Brown S. Afr. Heritage III. 10Funerals were accompanied at one time by professional mourners..and others, ‘Tropsluiters’, were paid merely to walk in pairs to lengthen the procession.
One hired to walk at the end of a funeral procession, thus extending its length.

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19261965