uncle, noun

Origin:
English, AfrikaansShow more Special senses of general English, influenced by Afrikaans oom, see oom.
colloquial
1.
a. A title, with a name: oom sense 1 a.
1822 [see oom sense 1 a].
1880 E.L. Price Jrnls (1956) 409‘So,’ said this pretty damsel, ‘Om Price will find this little girl very wild. He must be strict with her’ — and the little girl looked merrily into Uncle Price’s face.
b. A respectful or friendly form of address to a man who is not a blood relation, especially one older than the speaker; sometimes used in the (Afrikaans) respectful third person form (see quotation 1979). Cf. oom sense 2.
1873 F. Boyle To Cape for Diamonds 368We met a dingy old farmer going to his work on Bultfontein. ‘Good morning, uncle!’ said Mr. Fry. ‘Good morning, brother!’ returned the Boer.
1900 H. Blore Imp. Light Horseman 77‘Allemachting! little uncle,’ exclaimed the clerk in surprise. ‘I did not know there was a Boer here.’
1902 D. Van Warmelo On Commando 127An old man galloped towards us...I asked him, ‘Uncle, are you sure that our lager is in the hands of the khakies?’ to which he answered, ‘Nephew, I saw with my own eyes how they rode up to the waggons and made all our people “hands up!”’
1933 W. Macdonald Romance of Golden Rand 232‘Uncle,’ I said, addressing Harry Struben, ‘here is the gold we got from crushing the conglomerates’.
1968 Post 4 Feb. 7Why do all Indians in Maritzburg address everybody no matter how young they are, as ‘Uncle’ or ‘Aunty’?
1979 W. Ebersohn Lonely Place 190‘Is Uncle sure Uncle knows what Uncle is doing?’ the boy asked. ‘Uncle couldn’t be surer,’ Yudel said.
1980 R. Govender Lahnee’s Pleasure 13You must not stop him from school like this, Uncle. He seems an intelligent child.
1983 [see oom sense 2].
2. As a common noun: oom sense 3.
1883 O.E.A. Schreiner Story of Afr. Farm 137Some day, sooner or later, these graves will open, and those Boer-uncles with their wives walk about here in red sand.
1958 R.E. Lighton Out of Strong 181‘André has a clay ox the piccanin made for him. Show the uncle, André.’
1971 Post 28 Feb. 13He thinks I’m a square of an Uncle who’s not with it.
1971 Post 28 Mar. 22I’m not dying or going to Alcatraz, the place where they keep naughty uncles.
1973 Y. Burgess Life to Live 111When Bettie asked why ‘the uncle’ was always shouting, Nel could only say that he was a very sick uncle and could not help it.
1975 E. Prov. Herald 7 Aug. 17I grabbed the uncle and tried to pull him off, but could not move him. The train was getting closer.
1978 A.P. Brink Rumours of Rain 318When church parade was called the Sunday morning...There was a new soul-tiffy to do the job for us..this..elderly uncle with glasses.
1980 N. Ferreira Story of Afrikaner 39My favourite piece was..based on the character of a half-witted uncle who was the only true Christian I knew.
1984 Sunday Times 18 Nov. (Lifestyle) 1A seven year old rape victim..did not really know what had happened to her, only that some uncle had hurt her.
1993 in Sunday Times 31 Oct. 31We are not pumpkins like the fat uncles running around in the AWB.
A title, with a name: oom1 a.
A respectful or friendly form of address to a man who is not a blood relation, especially one older than the speaker; sometimes used in the (Afrikaans) respectful third person form (see quotation 1979).
As a common noun: oom3.
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18731993