Xhosa, noun and & adjective

Forms:
isiXhosa, KosaShow more singular isiXhosa, Kosa, Kósa, Khoza, Si-Xosa; singular and plural AmaXosa, Xhosa, Xosa; plural Amakasa, Amakosa, Amakosae, Amakosas, Amakosoe, Amakosse, Aman Kozas, Amascosa, Ammakosae, AmaXhosa, Amokosa, Kaussas, Koosas, Koossas, Kosas, Kossa, Koussie, Koza, Kozas, Magossees, Xhosas, Xosas.
Also (occasionally) with small initial.
Plurals:
usually Xhosas, unchanged, or amaXhosa.
Origin:
XhosaShow more Xhosa noun stem -Xhosa, found in words such as isiXhosa the Xhosa language and amaXhosa the Xhosa people (singular umXhosa); origin disputed. For notes on singular and plural forms, see ama-.
Note:
According to oral tradition the word is derived from the name of uXhosa, an early (but possibly mythical) leader; or from an unrecorded Nguni-language word related to Xhosa xoza, Zulu xhoza chip off, pare, and Zulu ilixhoza, ixhoza resister, deserter (also the term for a member of the Xhosa people). It is possible that the name has its origins in a split in the Nguni group, the splinter group or its leader being labelled ‘deserter’ or ‘resister’. If the name from which Xhosa was derived was a label or nickname rather than a proper name, it would help explain the apparently mythical nature of uXhosa. Another theory is that Xhosa is related to Khoikhoi //kósab /ˈ‖kɔsab/ ‘a member of the Xhosa people’, listed in J.G. Kroenlein’s Wortschatz der Khoi-Khoin (Namaqua-Hottentoten), Berlin, 1889 (p.215). Kroenlein gives no etymology for //kósab, but has entries for //khó rough, sharp, severe (p.214) and sàb ‘subst. der Buschmann’ (s.v. to pick up, to gather, p.293), this second element being the word used by the Khoikhoi for a member of the San, suggesting that //kósab may have been used by the Khoikhoi to distinguish the Xhosa from the San.
Note:
The word kaffir (noun sense 1 b and c), now offensive, was in the past used in all these senses.
A. noun
1. a. A member of a people of the Nguni group descended from the clan of Phalo (d. 1775) and claiming descent from chief Xhosa, i.e., of the Gcaleka and Rharhabe peoples. See also Gcaleka sense 1, Rharhabe sense a. b. A member of a major sub-division of the Nguni group, comprising those peoples traditionally living in what is now the Eastern Cape Province, and including those described in sense a.
Note:
Forms in isi- and Si- are not used in this sense.
Note:
The ties among those of the larger group now called the Xhosa are based not on traditional political unity, but on geographical origin, common language, and similarities in traditional culture. Nguni people from those groups living south of the Zulus are considered Xhosas, and their language has been standardized for official purposes.
1801 J. Barrow Trav. I. 219The Kaffers call themselves Koussie, which word is pronounced by the Hottentots with a strong palatal stroke of the tongue on the first syllable.
1809 R. Collins in G.M. Theal Rec. of Cape Col. (1900) VII. 37The original apellation..I have understood to be Kóza instead of Koussie.
1809 R. Collins in G.M. Theal Rec. of Cape Col. (1900) VII. 62He said that Hinsa was the first of the Aman Kozas (Kaffer people).
1812 A. Plumptre tr. of H. Lichtenstein’s Trav. in Sn Afr. I. 309The tribe..call themselves Koosas, or Kaussas.
1822 W.J. Burchell Trav. I. 268The Kosas, or Caffres on the eastern side of the colony.
1837 J.E. Alexander Narr. of Voy. I. 366The so-called Kaffirs are divided into three great nations: the Amakosas, or the people of a chief Kosa, extending from the Keiskamma to the Bashee; the Amatembies, or Tambookies, between the upper Kye and Umtata; and the Amapondas, or people of the elephants’ tooth, from the Umtata to the south of Port Natal.
1860 W. Shaw Story of my Mission 397The people residing on the border of the Cape Colony call themselves Amaxosa.
1887 S.W. Silver & Co.’s Handbk to S. Afr. 60Extraordinary national suicide of the Amaxosa...In 1857..the Amaxosa...suffered themselves to be persuaded into an act of almost incredible folly.
1911 D.B. Hook ’Tis but Yesterday 18He had thought it better to leave than be at the mercy of the unsubdued Amaxosa.
1932 J.H. Soga Ama-Xosa 7The next chief of importance after Mnguni was Xosa, from whom the tribe derives its name of Ama-Xosa.
1949 J. Mockford Golden Land 77The Xosas, the Kafirs, clashed with the Whiteman in the eastern regions of the Cape.
1964 Drum Nov. 22Mr. Tsewu combines with his spiritualism a considerable knowledge of the tribal history of the Ama-Xhosa.
1975 Std Encycl. of Sn Afr. XI. 550During the rule of Palo his two sons, Gcaleka..and Rarabe, quarrelled and the AmaXhosa divided into two groups.
1981 J.B. Peires House of Phalo 13There is every reason to believe that the word ‘Xhosa’ is derived from the Khoi ‘//kosa’, meaning ‘angry men’.
1983 Umso Oct. 3The first contact between the newly arrived British Settlers and the amaXhosa occurred on the 7th January 1821.
1987 D. Tutu in E. Prov. Herald 2 Apr. 10It did strike us as odd that the history book always spoke of the white settlers capturing cattle from the Xhosas while the Xhosas always stole cattle from the whites.
1990 Weekly Mail 9 Mar. 8According to apartheid theory, there should have been one homeland for the Xhosa.
1992 Daily Dispatch 11 Dec. 9Her main interest was to research the culture and customs of the amaXhosa.
c. comb.
Xhosaland, those areas of the Eastern Cape Province traditionally inhabited by the Xhosa peoples; Amakosina.
Note:
See also the note at Kaffrarian.
1944 J. Mockford Here Are S. Africans 82They (sc. the Xhosa) meant..to purge Xosaland of the Smits and Smiths.
1981 J.B. Peires House of Phalo 1Xhosaland (emaXhoseni, lit. ‘at the place where the Xhosa are’) is most easily, if somewhat simplistically, conceived as comprising four adjacent belts running parallel to the coast. The northernmost of these..was never permanently settled by the Xhosa...The overwhelming majority of Xhosa lived in the ‘highlands’, the slopes of the smaller mountains such as the Winterberg and the Amatola, where innumerable streams and rivulets drain into the great rivers of Xhosaland, the Fish, the Keiskamma, the Buffalo and the Kei.
1986 B. Maclennan Proper Degree of Terror 50The most common form of resistance was simply desertion...They often headed into Xhosaland, where, according to Van Reenen, they ‘enjoy the same privileges as the Kaffirs’.
1988 P. Edgar in Personality 25 July 69If it were not for these two men and myself, those cows would have ended up as karosses for some dusky maidens in Xhosaland.
2. [Xhosa isiXhosa.] The language of this people, a Sintu (Bantu) language of the Nguni group. Also combination (objective) Xhosa-speaking adjectival phrase, having Xhosa as one’s home language.
Note:
Forms in ama- are not used in this sense. See also isi-.
1857 J.L. Döhne Zulu-Kafir Dict. p.xviThe Zulu..sometimes differs considerably from the Xosa in respect to idiom...The Xosa often differs from the Zulu in the clicks, and in compound consonants.
1883 R.N. Cust Mod. Langs of Afr. II. 302The Xhosa is deemed to represent the oldest form of Bántu speech, being farthest removed from contact with the Negro, Hamitic or Semitic Languages.
1920 S.M. Molema Bantu Past & Present 305The oldest..of the Bantu papers is the Imvo, edited and published at King William’s Town by Mr. J. Tengo Jabavu in English and Sixosa (language of Ama-Xosa and Fingoes).
1931 J.H. Soga Ama-Xosa 94A number of tales..have, within recent years, made their appearance in the vernacular (Si-Xosa).
1954 C.M. Doke Sn Bantu Languages 91Xhosa has produced a number of novelists, while recently..poetry has been published.
1963 Transkei Constitution Act in Statutes of Rep. of S. Afr. 1963 546Xhosa shall be recognised as an additional official language of the Transkei.
c1980 S. Afr. 1979: Off. Yrbk (Info. Service of S. Afr.) 107The languages of the various language groups are: Nguni: Xhosa (3 912 680) spoken in the Republic of Transkei, the Ciskei and the Eastern Cape generally [etc.].
1990 W. Smith Golden Fox 158Michael spoke both Xhosa and Zulu.
B. adjective.
Note:
Some of the uses quoted below might more correctly be seen as attributive uses of the noun.
1. Designating the language of the Xhosas, a Sintu (or Bantu) language of the Nguni group; of, pertaining to, or in this language.
Note:
Forms in ama- are now seldom used in this sense.
1824 Cape Chron. in S. Afr. Jrnl I. 84The first sheet of an elementary School Book, in the Amakosa tongue, (the dialect of the Frontier Caffers,) has reached Cape Town.
1838 J.E. Alexander Exped. into Int. II. 166The Amakosa and Tembé languages..are different dialects of the same language.
1857 J.L. Döhne Zulu-Kafir Dict. p.xiiIn 1852, in the southern district of Natal.., I was surprised to find that the small tribe called Amambombo.., spoke the Amaxosa dialect.
1902 G.M. Theal Beginning of S. Afr. Hist. 37The following words in the Xosa dialect will further illustrate.
1979 A. Gordon-Brown Settlers’ Press 56It was decided to ask the Revd Stephen Kay, then overseas.., to buy a press with type suitable for printing in the Xhosa language.
1982 C.M. Knox in Fair Lady 13 Jan. 79She’s producing Xhosa [programmes] for an independent production company.
1987 G. Silber in Style Nov. 53Pessimist, Person taking Xhosa lessons.
2. Designating a person or group of the Xhosa-speaking peoples; red adjective sense 2 b i; red blanket adjectival phrase sense 2.
Note:
Forms in isi- and Si- are not used in this sense.
1834 J.C. Chase in A. Steedman Wanderings (1835) II. 192In 1797, Mr. Barrow..furnished some very interesting information of the Amokosa nation.
1836 A.F. Gardiner Journey to Zoolu Country 9During our progress through the Amakosa tribes we occasionally stopped at the traders’ stations.
1847 M.C. Johnstone in Imp. Blue Bks Command Paper 912–1848, 64It is not improbable, that there will be very great distress amongst the Amakosa Kafirs during the winter.
1860 A.W. Drayson Sporting Scenes 17We were at war with the Amakosa tribes.
1882 C.L. Norris-Newman With Boers in Tvl 12Troubles commenced..between the Ngaika and other Amascosa chiefs.
1916 Rand Daily Mail 1 Nov. 3Mr Doran yesterday sent a Xosa woman named Angelina to gaol for six weeks for forging an order for the supply of a bottle of brandy.
1961 T. Matshikiza Choc. for my Wife 58We were on our way to meet Gibson Finca, a Xhosa refugee.
1971 Daily Dispatch 27 Nov. 14 (letter)The Xhosa nation consists of Pondos, Pondomise, Baca, Hlubi, Fingo, Gcaleka, Nguni, Ngqika (Gaika) and so on.
1980 J. Cock Maids & Madams 174Dutch Farmers with Xhosa servants are reported as early as 1777.
1986 City Press 13 July 6 (letter)A black lady told me that because I am Xhosa I should apply for Transkei or Ciskei citizenship.
1994 Weekly Mail & Guardian 13 May 8The isikhakha, the earth-coloured dress worn by Amaxhosa people, complete with handmade pipe.
3. Of or pertaining to Xhosas or their traditions, culture, or society; used or made mainly or originally by Xhosas; affecting or intended for Xhosas.
1858 B. Nicholson in J. Maclean Compendium of Kafir Laws (1906) 170This latter part thus agreeing with the Xosa tradition.
1971 Daily Dispatch 2 Oct. (Suppl.) 13 (advt)Since 1969 we have been specialists in the manufacture of traditional xhosa garments.
1974 Daily Dispatch 20 Dec. (Indaba) 3Ten black women will be employed by the Xhosa Development Corporation to help in the manufacture of traditional Xhosa beer at its brewery.
1979 E. Prov. Herald 30 Oct. 1White and coloured members of the party learnt Xhosa songs.
1981 Sunday Tribune 30 Aug. 5Tobias was..renamed ‘Kojak’..after having his hair closely cropped in the Xhosa style.
1982 Sunday Times 18 July 24For the South African Government to subsidise two Xhosa states is a downright waste of money.
1988 M. Davies in Style July 105Other pieces include..Xhosa beadwork dating to the 1940s.
1990 A. Mpangase in M. Kentridge Unofficial War 57He said..that the only way to end violence in the area was to drive the UDF and COSATU from KwaZulu to Xhosa areas.
1992 R. Barnes in Weekly Mail 28 Aug. (Exclusive Communique) p.ivIt reflects the innard of Xhosa society.
A member of a people of the Nguni group descended from the clan of Phalo (d. 1775) and claiming descent from chief Xhosa, i.e., of the Gcaleka and Rharhabe peoples.
A member of a major sub-division of the Nguni group, comprising those peoples traditionally living in what is now the Eastern Cape Province, and including those described in a.
The language of this people, a Sintu (Bantu) language of the Nguni group. Also combination (objective) Xhosa-speakingadjectival phrase, having Xhosa as one’s home language.
Designating the language of the Xhosas, a Sintu (or Bantu) language of the Nguni group; of, pertaining to, or in this language.
Designating a person or group of the Xhosa-speaking peoples; redadjective2 b i; red blanketadjectival phrase2.
Of or pertaining to Xhosas or their traditions, culture, or society; used or made mainly or originally by Xhosas; affecting or intended for Xhosas.
Derivatives:
Hence Xhosadom noun rare, collectively, the areas and people considered to belong to the Xhosa group.
1981 J.B. Peires House of Phalo 19The limits of Xhosadom were not ethnic or geographic, but political: all persons or groups who accepted the rule of the Tshawe thereby became Xhosa.
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18011994

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