zeekoe, noun

Forms:
seekoe, seekoeiShow more Also seekoe, seekoei, zee-coe.
Plurals:
unchanged, or zeekoes.
Origin:
South African Dutch, Afrikaans, DutchShow more South African Dutch (later Afrikaans seekoei) hippopotamus, transferred use of Dutch zeekoe seal, walrus.
1. obsolete. sea-cow sense 1.
1822 W.J. Burchell Trav. I. 409Had never seen a Zee-koe (Sea-Cow), as the colonists call the Hippopotamus.
1839 W.C. Harris Wild Sports 278It was with the greatest difficulty..that the perverse Hottentots could be induced to suspend hostilities against the Zeekoes.
1925 F.C. Slater Centenary Bk of S. Afr. Verse 238(Seekoei = sea-cow) — Hippopotamus. Formerly very common in all the rivers from the eastern districts of the Cape northwards; a few still remain in the Transvaal.
1957 L.G. Green Beyond City Lights 163Hippo (zeekoe)..were found in the Diep River.
2. combinations
zeekoe gat /- xat/, plural zeekoe gats, zeekoe gatten [Dutch, gat hole, pool], sea-cow hole (see sea-cow sense 2);
zeekoe spek obsolete [Dutch, spek fat, bacon], spek sense a.
1822 W.J. Burchell Trav. I. 263These ponds, called Zeekoe-gatten, (Sea-cow holes,) are generally supposed to have been made by Hippopotami.
1827 G. Thompson Trav. 101Large pools, or as the colonists call them, Zeekoe-gats, deep enough to float a man-of-war.
1883 M.A. Carey-Hobson Farm in Karoo 155These deep places in the rivers here and there are called by the Dutch and other colonists, ‘Zee Koe gaten’ — hippopotamus holes — because when the huge river horses were still inhabitants of the country they lived and bred in these holes, where they continually rolled and plashed about in order to prevent sand from accumulating in them.
1905 G.W. Stow Native Races of S. Afr. 51Instead of the deep chasms now found.., chains of deep zeekoegats, or hippopotamus’ pools, occupied their place.
1920 F.C. Cornell Glamour of Prospecting 111Before us lay a broad, placid sheet of calm, unruffled water with a typical zee-coe-gat (hippo hole).
1941 A.G. Bee Kalahari Camp Fires (1943) 268Below the drift was a ‘zeekoegat’ which means ‘hippo hole’, and is a whirlpool or strong current.
1971 Daily Dispatch 16 Dec. 10A hippopotamus pool (seekoegat) which they sounded for depth by measuring with the long whiphandles.
1822 W.J. Burchell Trav. I. 411The ribs are covered with a thick layer of fat, celebrated as the greatest delicacy; and known to the colonists as a rarity by the name of ‘Zeekoe-spek’ (Seacow-pork).
1843 J.C. Chase Cape of G.H. 69The salted and smoked flesh of the hippopotamus, or as it is called here Zee Koe spek (sea-cow pork), and from good pork it cannot be distinguished.
1852 A.W. Cole Cape & Kafirs 83‘I’ve had a little present given to me — it’s a nice bit of zeekoe spek’ (sea-cow, alias hippopotamus pork).
1913 C. Pettman Africanderisms 572Zeekoe spek, The fat of the hippopotamus is considered a great delicacy, and in the earlier days of the Colony was an important article in Cape cookery.
sea-cow1.
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18221971