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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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