umzimbeet, umzimbithi, umzimbiti, noun

Forms:
msimbithi, umsimbitiShow more Also msimbithi, umsimbiti, umzimbete, umzimbeti, umzimbiet, umzimbit, umzimbiti, zimboti.
Origin:
Xhosa, ZuluShow more Xhosa and Zulu umsimbithi.
The tree Millettia grandis of the Leguminosae; its hard and durable timber; Natal ebony, see Natal sense b. Also attributive. Also called ironwood (sense a).
1850 N.J. Merriman Cape Jrnls (1957) 92With Bible and prayer-book under one arm, and in the other hand my long umzinbili nob kerie.
1870 C. Hamilton Life & Sport in S.-E. Afr. 6The wheels are made of the famous Natal wood called ‘umsimbiti’ or ironwood, from its strength and durability.
1902 G.S. Boulger Wood 335Umzimbit...Known also as White Ironwood.
1912 E. London Dispatch 10 July 9 (Pettman)The flames of the fire died down and the embers of the zimboti wood glowed dull red.
1921 W.C. Scully Harrow 54His stick was of ‘umzimbeet’, long strong and heavy.
1923 W.C. Scully Daniel Vananda 145Old Songelwa’s ‘umzimbiet’ club, and his single assegai, were not forgotten.
1955 E.A. Ritter Shaka Zulu 237He only carried a little spear with a short handle of dark-red wood made from a freak-coloured umsimbiti or iron-wood (milletia caffra).
1964 G. Campbell Old Dusty 2Our tents were pitched in a sylvan glade carpeted with deep, lush grass and surrounded by magnificent umzimbiti trees.
1968 K. McMagh Dinner of Herbs 22And such sticks too! Cut from choice ‘umzimbete’, so hard that it is rightly named ‘iron wood’, they were decorated with cunningly wrought copper.
1972 E. Prov. Herald 12 Jan. 12Many South Africans know the wood of Umzimbeet (which word is a corruption of the Xhosa and Zulu umSimbithi, meaning iron-wood). Until its use was protectively stopped, it was the favourite wood for the tribal craft of making walking-sticks and knobkieries.
1976 R.L. Peteni Hill of Fools 19Old Langa stood up, took his black, oiled msimbithi stick, and called on Duma, Mlenzana and Zuziwe to go with him to Ntombi’s home.
The tree Millettia grandis of the Leguminosae; its hard and durable timber; Natal ebony, see Natalb. Also attributive. Also called ironwood (sense a).

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