South African Dutch, Afrikaans, DutchShow more South African Dutch and Afrikaans, reduced form of Dutch vallei valley.
1.A shallow natural pool of water; low-lying, marshy ground, covered with water during the rainy season; valley sense a.Cf. pan sense b. Also attributive.
1802Truter & Somerville inG.M. ThealRec. of Cape Col. (1899) IV. 369We afterwards passed two other vleis or ponds about two hours distant one from another, and the water was in both of the same quality as in the first.
1824S. Afr. JrnlI. 73The immense desert tracts..are..interspersed with stagnant pools, and ‘vleys’, or natural reservoirs of brakish water, which, however bad, satisfies the game.
1832Graham’s Town Jrnl 24 Aug. 136During or soon after the fall of rain, fleys occur close to the road.
1848H. WardFive Yrs in KaffirlandI. 101The Dragoon, on his arrival, must be taught frontier geography concerning kloofs, valleys, flays, short cuts, friendly or hostile kraals, &c.
1853F.P. FlemingKaffraria 38Vast plains, covered with grass and wild flowers, and here and there dotted with ‘vleys’ (or large ponds of water).
a1858J. GoldswainChron. (1946) I. 87Neer the twentieth Mile Stone ware thear ware two large flaes of water.
1863W.C. BaldwinAfr. Hunting 226We found the vley, where we fully expected water, dried up.
1871J. McKayReminisc. 11Having come to a small pond or vley, the water in it was so thick that the men had to keep their teeth closed to act as strainers.
1886G.A. FariniThrough Kalahari Desert 62When at last we were off, the route lay along the edge of a vley or marsh.
1896H.A. BrydenTales of S. Afr. 13He stayed for a week, and he was for ever talking of a wonderful vlei he had discovered. [Note] Pronounced flay. A vlei is the Dutch name for a shallow lake.
1906H. Rider HaggardBenita 67Up slopes and down slopes,..across half-dried vleis that in the wet season were ponds.
1912W. WestrupLand of To-Morrow 155There are a good many ducks in that big vlei below my place, and we ought to have some sport.
1926P.W. LaidlerTavern of Ocean 6At the foot of Lion’s Head was a large vlei or marsh, where geese, ducks, and other wild water-fowl abounded...The lion and the rhinoceros roamed around and in the vleis hippopotami sported.
c1936S. & E. Afr. Yr Bk & Guide 97There are many shallow pans or vleis generally attributed to wind erosion, which receive drainage in times of heavy rainfall and are sometimes erroneously termed ‘lakes’.
1948V.M. FitzroyCabbages & Cream 1A lawn is bounded by a vineyard, and a row of Lombardy poplars, and beyond, the low-lying land we call the vlei which is green with barley in winter and in summer is a tapestry of vegetable rows.
1959L.G. GreenThese Wonders 91Along the Kalahari edge, especially in South West African territory, are so-called ‘talking vleis’, little ponds left after the rare rains. Some gurgle and rumble, the strength of the sound ranging from a whisper or a moan to a shriek.
1972S. Afr. Garden & Home Oct. 34The Malachite Kingfisher which is found throughout the streams and vleie of South Africa.
1982S. Afr. Panorama Jan. 39To regard a natural vlei not as an obstacle to be drained and reclaimed or as a convenient dumping site.., but rather as a unique habitat for many forms of wildlife is a measure of civilisation.
1993J. Thomas inHouse & Leisure Nov. 50A tranquil vlei, that had a strange colour and smelled funny, added to the suburb’s rural character.
vlei muisobsolete [Afrikaans, muis mouse], the speckled dark brown mouse Otomys irroratus, favouring marshy localities;
vlei tea, also vleitee/-tɪə/ [Afrikaans vleitee], the plant Cyclopia maculata; its leaves, infused as a tea; see also honey tea;
vleiveld/-felt/ [Afrikaans, veld terrain], vlei ground (see above).
1963S.H. SkaifeNaturalist Remembers 108A swampy patch covered with a dense growth of the plants farmers call vleibossies and which are known to science as Berzelia lanuginosa. As they only grow where there is permanent water in the soil these plants are a reliable indication of an underground spring.
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