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mealie, n.

Pronunciation:  Brit. /ˈmiːli/ , U.S. /ˈmili/ , S. Afr. /ˈmiːli/

α. 18 meele, 18 meeli, 18 meilie, 18 meli, 18 melie, 18 miele, 18 mili, 18 milice (plural), 18 milie, 18 mily, 18– mielie, 19– milli.

β. 18 mealea, 18 meali, 18 mealy, 18– mealie, 19– meally.

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Etymology:  < South African Dutch milie, mily (Afrikaans mielie  ) < early modern Dutch milie   millet (1554), (with reference to the Cape of Good Hope) maize (17th cent. in van Riebeeck) < Old French mil   (see mill n.3). The β forms are probably after meal n.1   The spelling mielie, after Afrikaans, is commonly used in South African English.
The word probably became obsolete in standard Dutch by the late 17th cent., especially since the word maïs  maize n.   was well established in standard Dutch and other European languages by that time. The forms millie  , milies  , and milies   are all listed in early Afrikaans dictionaries as being South African rather than Dutch.
N.E.D. (1906) derives the Dutch word from Portuguese milho   small millet (see milly n.), but J. F. Bense Dict. Low-Dutch Element in Eng. Vocab. (1939) shows that the etymology given above is more likely on both phonological and historical grounds. But for the semantic development from ‘millet’ to ‘maize’, compare early 16th cent. Portuguese milho marocco maize (so called because believed to come from Morocco; in 20th-cent. usage milho usually means maize (although sometimes with defining words, as milho grande, milho da India), while milho-miudo refers to millet).
S. Afr.

 1. In pl., as a mass noun: maize, Indian corn. Also as a count noun: a maize ear or corncob.See also stamped mealies n. at stamped adj. 1b.

1801   tr. ‘C. F. Damberger’ Trav. Afr. iii. 79   Melis (Indian corn) were distributed as a refreshment to the company.
1804   J. T. van der Kemp in Trans. London Missionary Soc. (ed. 2) 1 438   There is another kind of corn, which they call bona, and is known in the Colony by the name of meelis.
1818   G. Barker Diary 7 Dec. (MS)    Began to clear the beans & mielies in the garden.
1844   J. Backhouse Narr. Visit Mauritius & S. Afr. 98   Indian Corn, called in this country Meeles, and Dwarf Kidney-beans are the chief produce of the gardens.
1952   Cape Times 11 Jan. 3/4   The nearby Vergelegen Estate with its acres of corn and mielies.
1974   Eastern Province Herald (Port Elizabeth) 23 July 13   He is wise to discard his bowler hat when crossing a field of mielies.
1835   C. T. Bailie Let. 18 Apr. in U. Long Chron. J. Goldswain (Van Riebeeck Soc.) (1946) I. 133   The Caffer cornfields..were filled with pumpkins & watermelons interspersed..amongst the Caffer corn & mealies.
1837   ‘N. Polson’ Subaltern's Sick Leave 104   This meal is similar to the dinner with the addition of stewed fruit and mealies or Indian corn stewed in milk.
1853   F. Galton Narr. Explorer Trop. S. Afr. vi. 182   The Ovampo had little pipkins to cook in, and eat corn (milice) steeped in hot water.
1855   J. W. Colenso Ten Weeks in Natal p. vi,   The second range of land..furnishing abundant crops of hay, oats, mealies, or Indian corn, and barley.
1891   H. J. Duckitt Hilda's ‘Where is it?’ of Recipes 165   Take cabbage cut in small pieces; green ‘mealies’ (heads of Indian corn) in rings; tiny carrots [etc.].
1916   L. D. Flemming Fool on Veld 93   You planted a bag of mealies and got anything from 100 to 200 in return.
1973   Weekend Post (Port Elizabeth) 27 Oct. (Parade section) 14   Though it is not indigenous to South Africa, the mealie could almost qualify as our national vegetable.
1991   T. Pakenham Scramble for Afr. (1992) iii. 47   Using modern ploughs they grew enough mealies to sell the surplus, under-cutting white farmers.

1801—1991(Hide quotations)


 2. A maize kernel. Usu. in pl.; also in sing. as a mass noun.

1877   M. A. Barker Year's Housek. S. Afr. 70,   I hear that ‘mealies’—the crushed maize—are also much more expensive than they used to be.
1901   Scotsman 11 Mar. 8/1   For eight days they had to live on half a pound of mealie a day, with very little meat.
1925   P. Smith Little Karoo 18   The worn mealie-stamper..in which the mealies were pounded into meal.
1944   M. de B. Nesbitt Road to Avalon (1949) xiv. 113,   I sit on the mealie planter, control the levers and see that the hoppers are well filled as they drop mealies in the furrows.
1959   Cape Argus 28 Mar. (Mag. section) 2/6   We left with an appetising supply of pears, spanspek and the first mealies on the cob that we had come by since leaving Cape Town three years ago.
1986   L. Ngosi Mating Birds viii. 47   While..shelling mealies off the cob..the women would be heard gossiping.

1877—1986(Hide quotations)



 C1. General attrib.

  mealie field   n.

1879   Cape Argus 5 June   A bivouac was made near a deserted kraal, there being..a mealie-field hard by.
1990   N. Mandela in Weekly Mail (Johannesburg) 27 Apr. 3   Some of the mielie fields that could be seen now had been villages then.

1879—1990(Hide quotations)


  mealie porridge   n.

1872   C. A. Payton Diamond Diggings 139   They will frequently provide themselves with an extra in the shape of offal,..but still have an appetite unimpaired for the discussion of their mealie porridge.
1979   Eastern Province Herald (Port Elizabeth) 30 Oct. 1   Though they were fed mostly on vegetables, they missed their usual diet of stamped mealies (umgqusho) and mealie porridge (umpholoqo).
1996   N. Maraire Zenzele ii. 12   When I was growing up, we often ate nothing but mealie porridge and peanuts before bed.

1872—1996(Hide quotations)


  mealie-stem   n.

1928   R. Campbell Wayzgoose i. 27   Your notice boards like mealie-stems are stripped.

1928—1928(Hide quotations)


  mealie-stook   n.

1956   N. Gordimer Six Feet of Country 9   The girl catching her stockings on the mealie-stooks.

1956—1956(Hide quotations)


  mealie-bread   n. coarse bread made with maize kernels.

1941   Bantu World 25 Jan. (Suppl.) 3   The gravy was brought in cups, and slices of steamed green mealie bread.
1994   Flying Springbok (S. Afr.) June 9   The couscous, pap, rice and mealie-bread staples are there, as are those spicy stews.

1941—1994(Hide quotations)


  mealie-pap   n. maize-meal porridge; = mealie-meal pap at mealie-meal n. 2.

1880   E. F. Sandeman Eight Months in Ox-waggon xxvii. 273   Guinea fowls..form a very relishing change from the never-varying menu of bôk or mealie pap.
1903   J. Y. F. Blake West Pointer with Boers iii. 49   We had to come down to straight mealie pap (corn meal mush), and fresh beef.
1953   P. H. Abrahams Return to Goli vi. 200   It was the kind of food I had not eaten for fourteen years: a thick mielie pap.
1987   N. Gordimer Sport of Nature 91   Nothing but mealie pap, you put on weight, they fatten you up for the kill.
2004   L. Desoto Blade of Grass x. 69   She remembers sitting in his lap, as a small child, while he ate his mealie-pap and stew.

1880—2004(Hide quotations)


  mealie rice   n. crushed kernels of maize used as a substitute for rice.

1919   M. Higham Househ. Cookery S. Afr. (ed. 2) vi. 158   Hominy or Mealie Rice, a finer form of samp.
1985   Weekly Mail (Johannesburg) 16 Aug. 7   We ate all our meals in our cells... Supper (mielie rice, a vegetable, bread and a piece of meat and coffee) was at 3pm.
2004   H. Strachan Make a Skyf, Man! xiv. 154   Koelie saves nice little nuggins and nibblies from his graze..a spoonful of brinjal or mealie rice, also katkop for in-between snacks.

1919—2004(Hide quotations)


  mealie-stamper   n.  [ < mealie n. + Afrikaans stamper pounder, crusher] a large wooden pestle and mortar used in traditional rural African households in South Africa for pounding maize into meal.

1890   A. Martin Home Life Ostrich Farm 228   The centre of an old waggon-wheel did duty very effectually as our mealie-stamper.
1925   P. Smith Little Karoo 18   Just outside the door was the worn mealie-stamper, cut out of a tree-trunk and shaped like an hour-glass, in which the mealies were pounded into meal.

1890—1925(Hide quotations)