English Words from Afrikaans

(an official language of the Republic of South Africa which developed from the Dutch of the colonists who went there in the 1600's; South African Dutch)

The words in this unit have been compiled from a list of the "Afrikaans" language. The parts of speeches and definitions were added from a variety of sources.

—The basic entries come from the "Word Source" section in the
Scott, Foresman Advanced Dictionary by E.L. Thorndike and Clarence L. Barnhart;
Scott, Foresman and Company; Glenview, Illinois; 1973; page 20.
aardvark (s) (noun), aardvarks (pl)
1. A nocturnal, insectivorous, or insect eating, burrowing, mammal somewhat resembling a pig, which is common in some parts of Sub-Saharan Africa: One night, the tourists in South Africa saw aardvarks near their camping site with long ears, tubular noses, and long extensible tongues and the tourist guide told them that the aardvarks usually ate ants, termites, and other insects.
2. Etymology: from South African Dutch; which comes from aarde, "earth" + vark, "pig".
aardwolf (s) (noun), aardwolves (pl)
1. A mammal, that resembles and is related to the hyena: "The aardwolf lives in a burrow and feeds at night, mostly on termites and insect larvae."

While at the camping site in South Africa, some tourists were amazed to see a couple of aardwolves from a distance, thinking they were hyenas looking for dead beasts."
2. Etymology: from Afrikaans, "earth-wolf"; which comes from aarde, "earth" + wolf, "wolf" (a carnivorous canine mammal).

apartheid (s) (noun) (no plural form)
1. A previous official policy of racial segregation formerly practiced in the Republic of South Africa, which included political, legal, and economic discrimination against nonwhites.
2. A policy, condition, or practice of separating or segregating groups from each other.
3. Etymology: Afrikaans, literally "separateness"; from Dutch apart, "separate" + -heid, equal to "hood" meaning "state" or "condition of being".
commando (s) (noun), commandos (pl)
1. A military term referring to a soldier who is taught to plan and to execute ambushes or to surprise military attacks against an enemy: "After having planned their secret attack on the enemy, the commandos informed their superiors."
2. Etymology: Afrikaans kommando, from Dutch commando and from Spanish comando, from comandar, "to officially order"; from Vulgar Latin commandäre, "to order".
eland (s) (noun), elands (pl)
1.One of two large antelopes from Africa whose coat is light-brown or gray, the horns being twisted in a spiral fashion: Ted's children saw a video in their biology class that showed elands, about the size of elk, with their unique spiraled horns eating grass in their natural habitat.
2. Etymology: from Dutch eland, "elk"; from late Middle Dutche elen, elant; from German elen, elend; from Lithuanian ellenis, "stag".
hartebeest (s) (noun), hartebeests (pl)
1. One of two large antelopes in Africa whose coat is brown and with horns which are ridged and curving outwardly: "The children compared the elands in their biology lesson to the hartebeests noticing that the hartebeests horns seemed to be tuning outwardly."
2. Etymology: from Dutch hartebeest, "deer"; from Middle Dutch hert "deer" + beest, "beast"; from Old French beste, "beast".
kraal (s) (noun), kraals (pl)
1. A fenced in area or an enclosed space where horses, cows, sheep, etc. are kept temporarily: "In Southern Africa, the natives have kraals for their domestic animals during the nights and then they are taken out each morning to graze on grass during the day times."
2. Etymology: from Afrikaans, "enclosure for cattle", from Portuguese curral, perhaps of Hottentot origin.
kraal (verb), kraals; kraaled; kraaling
To enclose or to keep livestock penned in the southern parts of Africa: "The natives were kraaling their cattle and sheep so they couldn't wander away."
mealie, mielie (s) (noun); mealies, mielies (pl)
1. The spike of corn or maize: "The mealie had to be ground for a long time before the family could use it when they were making their bread."

"The mealies were as tall as Brian's stretched arms over his head."

2. Etymology: from Afrikaans mielie; from Portuguese milho, millet; ultimately from Latin milium, "millet" or "cereal grain".
spoor (s) (noun), spoors (pl)
1. The traces or tracks of an animal, particularly that of a wild animal: "The hunter followed the spoors of the bear in the forest for miles before he decided to set up camp for the night."
2. Etymology: Afrikaans, from Middle Dutch spor, "footprint, track, trace".
spoor (verb), spoors; spoored; spooring
To follow the track of an animal, mostly that of a wild animal: "The tired hunter was spooring a wolf before he was caught by the forest ranger."
springbok (s) (noun), springboks (pl)
1. A gazelle, a brown and white mammal, which lives in the southern parts of Africa and is able to jump up quite far when startled: "The tourists enjoyed the sight of seeing the springboks jumping around during the very early hours of their trip."
2. Etymology: from Afrikaans: spring, "to leap up"; from Middle Dutch springen + bok, "buck, male deer".
steenbok (s) (noun), steenboks (pl)
1. A small African antelope with brown hair; usually frequenting rocky places. The males' horns are quite pointed: "In comparison to the springbok, the steenbok is not really capable of leaping so high into the air!"
2. Etymology: Afrikaans steenbok; from Middle Dutch steenboc, "stone buck"; steen, "stone" + boc, "buck" or "male".
trek (s) (noun), treks (pl)
1. A trip or part of a quite difficult and slow trip: "The Westward Movement consisted of a very long trek to the West in North America."
2. A move from one country or area to another to work or to live: "The retired couples' trek from California to Canada took about three years!"
3. A trip by wagon drawn by oxen in South Africa: "The tourists decided to go on a trek, taking their time to experience another way of traveling."
4. Etymology: from Afrikaans; from Middle Dutch trekked, "to pull, to travel".
trek (verb), treks; trekked; trekking
To go on a very difficult and slow trip" "After years of living in the woods, Hugo was still trekking to the village through the deepest snow during the winter."

See other English words from foreign languages at this
Other Languages Index.