vrou, noun

Forms:
frau, frauwShow more Formerly also frau, frauw, frou, vrau, vraw, vrouw, vrow.
Origin:
Afrikaans, DutchShow more Afrikaans (from Dutch vrouw), woman, wife, mistress.
A (Dutch) woman; a wife; the mistress of a household. Cf. huisvrou. See also Boerevrou, mevrou.
1.
a. A common noun.
1785 E. Brittle in V. De Kock Fun They Had (1955) 48The vrouws, in a minuet, solemnly prance...Mynheer, in cotillion,..flounders about.
1797 Lady A. Barnard S. Afr. Century Ago (1910) 123The vrow sat like Charity tormented by a legion of devils.
1804 R. Percival Acct of Cape of G.H. 51Besides being very handsomely paid for board and lodging, Mynheer expects over and above a present of some valuable Asiatic or European article for the Vrow his wife.
1824 W.J. Burchell Trav. II. 177Its inhabitants were, the baas, and his vrouw (wife) and son,..and two or three female servants, all Hottentots.
1838 J.E. Alexander Exped. into Int. I. 130The vrows and meisjes were..at work day and night at the farm-houses below the mountain, preparing biltong or dried meat, and baking bread for their men.
1849 N.J. Merriman Cape Jrnls (1957) I soon..got on better terms with this family,..by giving my blue spectacles to the vrou, who I observed had weak eyes.
1852 M.B. Hudson S. Afr. Frontier Life 209The washing is done by a Hottentot vrouw.
1859 H. Rabone in A. Rabone Rec. of Pioneer Family (1966) 119A conversation with my wash vrouw.
1867 E.L. Price Jrnls (1956) 249Roger used to measure off & take doses of medicine to the old vrow & have them refused as too nauseous or not suitable.
1871 J. McKay Reminisc. 207The Hottentot or Kafir vrouw is the worker of the household.
1877 R.M. Ballantyne Settler & Savage 28Myneer Marais’ vrouw, a good-looking, fat, and motherly woman verging on forty.
1890 A. Martin Home Life 138The more highly the good vrouw wishes to honour you, the more..she over-sweetens your cup of tea or coffee.
1903 D. Blackburn Burgher Quixote 31It was less suffering to fight Rooineks against my conscience that to be physicked by all the vrouws in the dorp.
1911 L. Cohen Reminisc. of Kimberley 304I have often noticed the ponderous vrouws, those prototypes of Rubens’s mountains of flesh..wipe the chairs with their aprons after we had risen from them.
1924 S.G. Millin God’s Step-Children 8Tall, flat-faced, flat-roofed white houses, with open sun stoeps in front, on which stout Dutch vrouws..sat drinking coffee with their cavaliers.
1936 R.J.M. Goold-Adams S. Afr. To-Day & To-Morrow 12Their homely ‘vrouws’, each of whom considers it her natural duty to bring into the world as many children as she can.
1963 in O. Doughty Early Diamond Days 133A Dutch boy brings some excellent sausages made by a good old frouw — his mother.
1970 Daily Dispatch 30 Jan. 14And now youse can do me a favour. Cancel the policy on my vrou quickly!
1982 Sunday Times 21 Feb. 2The Voortrekker’s vrou and the Yorkshire farmer’s wife and the Italian mamma all created a cuisine out of what was available.
1993 Natal Mercury 26 Mar. (TV Guide) 8Whenever she came to a farm..the owner had conveniently departed.., leaving his vrou or, in one case, the family tutor, to entertain her ladyship.
b. A title, with a surname: ‘Mrs’.
1798 Lady A. Barnard S. Afr. Century Ago (1910) 174Vrow Van Rhenin lighted the fire and cooked the fish.
1862 Lady Duff-Gordon Lett. from Cape (1925) 94Vrouw Reits was as black as coal, but so pretty!
1876 F. Boyle Savage Life 7Vrouw Jacobs interfered, confiscating the stone of contention.
1876 F. Boyle Savage Life 201We got to the cottage, the door of which, as usual, stood open, and by the fireplace sat Frow Groethode.
1905 P. Gibbon Vrouw Grobelaar 20At times, and in certain matters, Vrouw Grobelaar would display a ready acumen.
1911 P. Gibbon Margaret Harding 211You have been good, very good, to the Vrouw du Preez.
1970 M. Donovan in J.W. Loubser Africana Short Stories 56The two young men followed their host into the parlour, and were introduced to portly vrou De Beer.
c. A form of address used by a husband to his wife.
1823 W.W. Bird State of Cape of G.H. 74An inclination to marriage cannot be more clearly ascertained than [in] the universal custom of calling each other man and vrouw, (in English, husband and wife).
1910 D. Fairbridge That Which Hath Been (1913) 184‘All has gone well, vrouw,’ he cried. ‘Let us have some Schiedam to drive out the wet and you shall hear.’
1929 J.G. Van Alphen Jan Venter 49Just give one cup to Venter, vrou. He is the new policeman.
1949 H.C. Bosman Cold Stone Jug (1969) 103‘Vrou’, he said, ‘the coffee is weak.’
1968 K. McMagh Dinner of Herbs 29But where, I ask you, vrou, where is a poor devil like me to lay my hands on a hundred pounds?
1977 F.G. Butler Karoo Morning 42One day he had staggered into the voorkamer, pale as a sheet, and said to his wife, ‘Vrou, I’ve just seen the most terrible thing’.
2. figurative. Army slang. As a common noun: a serviceman’s rifle.
1979 Ex-serviceman, InformantYour vrou had to go with you — even to the pub — everywhere except the shower, and if you dropped it you had to kiss it better — you’re wedded to the..thing.
A (Dutch) woman; a wife; the mistress of a household.
A common noun.
‘Mrs’.
A form of address used by a husband to his wife.
As a common noun: a serviceman’s rifle.

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17851993