uintjie, noun

Forms:
ajuintje, ajuntjeShow more Also ajuintje, ajuntje, inchie, intje, oenkje, ointjie, uintje, untjie, uyentje, uyntie, uyntje, uyntjie.
Origin:
DutchShow more From Dutch ajuintje little onion.
1.
a. Any of numerous edible bulbs, especially the corms of certain plants of the Iridaceae, including species of Moraea (especially Moraea edulis), Gladiolus, and Babiana, and species of Aponogeton (of the Aponogetonaceae). Also attributive. See also gladiolus, tulp.
1786 G. Forster tr. of A. Sparrman’s Voy. to Cape of G.H. I. 148Among these [bulbous plants] I now could number several different varieties of irises. The roots, or more properly the bulbs of these, it is common here to roast in the ashes and eat: they are called uynties, and have nearly the same taste with potatoes.
1802 Truter & Somerville in G.M. Theal Rec. of Cape Col. (1899) IV. 419They had..nothing to eat but roots of uyntjes which they had digged from under the ground, and of which they had yet a provision in their pockets, which they shewed us.
1818 S.N. Eaton Journal. 47Besides the vegetables common in England, I have seen several new to me — one called Uintjes (pronounced oontches), resembling much the chestnut in flavour..called Hottentot Bread, grows wild, with a yellow flower somewhat like a small daffodil.
1822 W.J. Burchell Trav. I. 417At the same time, a present of uyentjes. This is a colonial name in very general use, and is applied to several kinds of small eatable bulbs. None of those in question were larger than a hazle-nut, and were cased in several thin brown husks.
a1827 D. Carmichael in W.J. Hooker Botanical Misc. (1831) II. 265With infinite labour they dig the root of a species of Antholyza...The produce of half an hour’s toil, which they call Untjie, does not exceed the bulk of a chestnut.
1856 L. Pappe in Cape of G.H. Almanac & Annual Register 343The mealy bulbs, commonly known as Uintjes (bulbs), are nourishing and somewhat approach chestnuts in taste.
1872 E.J. Dunn in A.M.L. Robinson Sel. Articles from Cape Monthly Mag. (1978) 54The principal varieties consumed by them are two kinds of ‘camberoo’ and ‘uintjes’.
1886 G.A. Farini Through Kalahari Desert 138Knowing that the inchies (roots) were generally good to eat before they were in flower, I searched for some, and tried to eat them raw; but they were so unpalatable that I had to make a little fire and cook them in the hot sand.
1911 D.B. Hook ’Tis but Yesterday 57Wholesome little roots and bulbs — called ‘intjes’ — which Marie used as a tooth powder in order to whiten her beautiful teeth.
1913 C. Pettman Africanderisms 524The bulbous roots of these plants, not unlike the chestnut in flavour, were an important article of food in the early days of the Colony, both among the Hottentots and the slaves, and even now, at the proper season, they are gathered in considerable quantities by the coloured and poorer classes of the Western Province.
1936 C. Birkby Thirstland Treks 317When game is scarce they are content to loaf while their women gather veldkos or dig up ointjie bulbs to be baked in hot ashes.
1955 L.G. Green Karoo 103Many varieties of uintjies (edible bulbs) are found in the karoo. Some are eaten raw, others stewed with meat...Certain uintjies taste like chestnuts and make a strong soup.
1969 J.M. White Land God Made in Anger 229Tsi roots and ointjie bulbs are two of the delicacies for which a Bushman woman, accompanied by her children will grub around with the aid of her sharpened digging-stick.
1975 W. Steenkamp Land of Thirst King 129Many shelves of that vast storehouse are filled with edible bulbs of one variety or another, all known by the generic name of ‘uintjie’.
b. comb. obs. uintjies-tyd, also (formerly) uyntjes-tijd, [Afrikaans, tyd from Dutch tijd time], the time when uintjies are in season.
[1786 G. Forster tr. of A. Sparrman’s Voy. to Cape of G.H. I. 148The Hottentots..use the word uynties..for the reckoning of time; always beginning the new year, whenever the uynties push out of the ground, and marking their age and other events by the number of times in which, in a certain period, this vegetable has made its appearance.]
1801 J. Barrow Trav. I. 159The season of the year is usually indicated by being so many moons before or after uyntjes tyd, or the time that the roots of the iris edulis are in season.
1841 B. Shaw Memorials 26The season of the year is generally indicated by its being so many moons before or after uyntjies tyd, or the time that the roots which they are accustomed to eat are in season.
1913 C. Pettman Africanderisms 525Uyntjes-tyd, The time when these various roots were in season. How much these plants were esteemed and the large place they occupied in the domestic economy of the slaves and poorer classes, may be inferred from their making the uyntjes-tijd a point from to which to reckon.
2.
a. The sedge plant Cyperus rotundus of the Cyperaceae, which produces strings of very small bulbs. b. The onion weed Nothoscordum inodorum of the Liliaceae, a common garden weed.
1958 R.E. Lighton Out of Strong 78And our house, Johann? Shame! It will fall in. The black jacks, khaki weed and uintjies will choke our garden.
1973 S. Afr. Garden & Home Sept. 19My neighbour’s garden was covered in uintjies, but we eradicated them within a year.
1974 Daily Dispatch 18 May 4I see that a preparation is being advertised for eradicating ‘Uintjes’ in lawns. I have not yet heard of any success with it.
1976 E. Prov. Herald 13 Oct. 11Spray your lawn with new Basagran. Strong, fast-acting Bassagran quickly controls ‘uintjies’ (yellow nutgrass).
1991 Weekend Post 26 Jan. (Leisure) 7Onion weed, or uintjies, are a constant source of irritation to many gardeners...Nothoscordum inodorum is a stubborn pest.
1993 Weekend Post 1 May (Leisure) 7Every now and then I get a call from a rather desperate reader asking how to get rid of onion weeds (uintjies).
Any of numerous edible bulbs, especially the corms of certain plants of the Iridaceae, including species of Moraea (especially Moraea edulis), Gladiolus, and Babiana, and species of Aponogeton (of the Aponogetonaceae). Also attributive.
the time when uintjies are in season.
The sedge plant Cyperus rotundus of the Cyperaceae, which produces strings of very small bulbs.
The onion weed Nothoscordum inodorum of the Liliaceae, a common garden weed.
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