© 2019 Site Design and Maintenance by ORGANIC IDENTITY. WILLEM BOSHOFF ARTIST

2014

Etching

Edition size: 40

Printmaker: Tim Foulds

Measurements of framed work: 1370mm (width) X 1100mm (height)

290 English/Afrikaans words composed to resemble a wall of bricks

Word Woes I

  • History

     

    In May, 2011, I visited Stellenbosch to discuss the envisaged Twenty exhibition with SMAC Gallery. Painfully aware of the squabble over Afrikaans as a language of prerogative at Stellenbosch University, I proposed an artwork consisting of one word that makes some sense in both the English and Afrikaans languages, but of which the meanings in the two languages differ significantly. That work was BOOM. I envisaged this work to be a big gabion wall (a bulky wall made up of stones stacked in wire baskets) in which two different coloured stones would be so stacked as to spell out the word boom on both sides of the wall. The wall would be placed in Jonkershoek, a get-away nature reserve where romantic couples often enjoy sanctuary in the shadows of large trees and the spellbinding vistas of mountain cliffs. The wall had to be large and inviting enough to serve as a refuge for amorous kisses. The word boom, in English, is rather onomatopoeic and spells out the noise of exploding bombs, as in the big boom! In Russian, boom! is an accepted toast, like cheers! – celebration laid on thick. In a more sedate sense, boom is also a long pole, usually pivoted to go up and down to let traffic through. In Afrikaans boom is ‘tree’ a word that confirms my life-long interest in and respect for nature. I have tried hard to learn the names of all the plants I come across and I am not doing too badly. Boom, however, has another, far more stress-free meaning in Afrikaans. To the unperturbed it spells out marijuana. The more easygoing students would immediately chuckle at this usage and might even be tempted to slink behind BOOM wall for a whiff or two of the beleaguered stuff. I wanted the work to poke some light-hearted fun at the obsessive linguistic preoccupation of the frantic local academic fraternity. It would clearly satisfy them on one level and most certainly raise eyebrows on another. Unfortunately, or is it fortunately, I never got around to make BOOM, but there is every reason why I still might make it one day.

     

    The idea that one can have words of the same spelling in Afrikaans and English, but that differ totally in meaning, stayed with me. When I was again approached by SMAC gallery in Stellenbosch, to have a solo exhibition in 2012, the memory of BOOM milled about in my head and I began to collect similar words. After more than a year I had come up with a list of two-hundred-and-forty words.

     

    To stay with the idea of using the earthen substance (stones) envisaged for BOOM, I decided to use the sand/soil from the town of Darling, also in the Western Cape. I mapped out the words on small brick-like plaques and I asked my friend Andrew Munnik to collect the soils and fill in the words and their backgrounds on the plaques. Finally, I had a large collage called PLATTER ROOSTER providing a brick wall for the linguistically-minded to run into.

     

    At the time I was convinced that I would not find any new words, but in the two years that followed new words began to surface, and when I was put to bed for months on end by an awful flu at the beginning of 2014, I had time to contemplate new additions. In the end the 240 words increased to 290 and in order to share the work with a wider audience, I decided to turn it into an edition of etchings with the new title WORD WOES. In English, this title laments issues dealing with words and in Afrikaans it instructs all to let go and be wild.

     

    Etymology

     

    If you are English and had never spoken a word of Afrikaans, the list of words in WORD WOES will appear totally English to you. If you are Afrikaans and had never seen any written English, which is highly unlikely, you might recognise these words as totally Afrikaans

     

    There is no logical linguistic reason for the choice of words. In a way they are a Dada list – a mini Dada dictionary. Their inclusion is strangely dependent on the throw of a dice, in this case, the dice is the fact that the English and Afrikaans meanings of these words of the same spelling have absolutely nothing to do with each other.

     

    The marvel of it all is for the reasonably bilingual person to read a word from one of the two languages, and then, upon reflection, to find the meaning of that word in the other language slowly dawning upon them.

     

    At first I thought of calling the work LOST IN TRANSLATION because the words play with irreconcileable meanings. This ‘English-only’ title would, however, only serve to anger sensitive members of the Afrikaans community and I decided to name the etching after two of the words that make strange sense when combined: WORD WOES.

     

    The English often see Afrikaans words next to English signage and because of their expectation that all written expression everywhere must necessarily be English, one often gets quite humorous readings. My son, Willem junior, who lives in the United Kingdom, once tried to draw money from the automatic banking machine in the predominantly Afrikaans town of Parys and he could not because he thought the prominence of the word jammer on the monitor meant that the machine had been jammed, when in fact an apology was issued for the fact that the machine could not print paper slips. Jammer in Afrikaans means ‘sorry’. An old English friend wondered for a while about the meaning of the word slegs on a road sign – he read ‘only slegs’ and could not, for the life of him, figure out what kind of things the slegs are. In Afrikaans slegs means ‘only’.

     

     

     

    Casual rules for the selection of words

     

    The etching WORD WOES is a small dictionary made up of words of the same spelling in English and Afrikaans but with totally different meanings. The meanings contained in its expressions are meant to be straight-forward, easily understandable, aimed at astonishment and admiration for their linguistic flair. I hope to ambush a certain slice of our bi-lingual society with the work’s quaintness and I mean to keep them at a standstill for some time in front of the work, pondering the marvelousness of our differences. Preference is given to words that are more or less easily identifiable and that might cause the greater interest.

     

    My friends playfully came up with two small sentences that read true for both languages: “My hand is in warm water” or “My pen is in my hand.” Unfortunately all these words are totally synonymous for Afrikaans and English and none such totally similar words are admitted in WORD WOES. Entries were omitted if they did not succeed as excellent examples of a true kind of difference.

     

    Words that might normally be accepted in the game of Scrabble are suitable, but note the following relaxed rules:

     

    No synonyms (PLATTER ROOSTER works with words spelled exactly the same, but that carry no similarities of meaning):

    • Similarly spelled and synonymous words are unsuitable: hang, arm, hand, bale, was, drank, hinder, note, verse, rose, grief, pan, vat, ring, stand, sending, spanning, slinger, sing, genies, plot, etc.
    • Even a slight sense of synonymity is also reason for disqualification. Elf, for example, is good in the sense of number eleven (Afrikaans), but as Santa’s little helper (same meaning in English and Afrikaans) it is disqualified. Other words like slot, pure, blank, mark (market), grade, rose and tasting also have too much synonymity for inclusion.

     

    No informal, colloquial or seldom used words.

    • dink – ‘to think’ in Afrikaans and a partner in a well-off working couple with no children in informal English.
    • dwang – ‘coercion’ in Afrikaans and ‘serious trouble’ in colloquial English.
    • vader – ‘father’ in Afrikaans and a character from the Star Wars films in English.
    • swat – ‘to hit or slap’ in English and ‘to study’ in informal Afrikaans.
    • gal – ‘girl’ in informal English and ‘contents of the gallbladder’ in Afrikaans.
    • loon – ‘salary’ in Afrikaans and ‘silly person’ in informal English.
    • gees – ‘spirit’ in Afrikaans and exclamations of surprise in informal English
    • toon – ‘toe’ in Afrikaans and ‘cartoon film’ in informal English.

    *   An exception was made in the case of ‘vroom’ because, even though it is informal English, it has a great onomatopaeic ring to it and is often used. I guess that most (perhaps all) words progressed from a time or sense in which they had been informal. The invention of text and printed matter created rules and formality.

     

    No scientific, overly technical or pedantic words

    • bots – ‘to crash’ in Afrikaans and in English the plural of bot, the larva of the botfly, also an abbreviation for ‘robots’.
    • tor – ‘bug’ in Afrikaans and a hill or ‘rocky peak’ in English

     

    No foreign or archaic words:

    • tome – ‘reins of a horse’ in Afrikaans and ‘book’ in old English.
    • nog – ‘small block or peg of wood’ and short for ‘eggnog’ in English. In Afrikaans it means ‘more’.
    • brag – ‘to bring’ archaic Afrikaans en ‘to boast’ in English
    • rust – ‘oxidation’ in English and ‘to rest’ in archaic Afrikaans
    • ween – ‘to be of opinion’ in archaic English and ‘to cry’ in Afrikaans
    • lam – ‘to hit’, a verb in nineteenth century English and ‘lamb’ in Afrikaans.

     

    No proper names or words beginning with capital letters are allowed:

    • Mars/mars English (two meanings: 1. the planet Mars, and 2. to spoil); Afrikaans (to march)
    • Rooms is acceptable in English, but the Afrikaans Rooms is rejected (a proper name pertaining to the Roman Catholic Church).

     

    Words in which the application is strained or hardly ever used:

    • staker – in Afrikaans ‘one who ceases to work’ and in seldom used English ‘one who drives in a stake’.
    • suffer – ‘more mentally worn out’ in strained Afrikaans and ‘to encounter bad or unpleasant things’ in English

     

    No abbreviations:

    • bros (‘brothers’ in English)
    • gat (informal and an abbreviation for ‘Gatling’ gun in English)
    • mag – ‘power’ in Afrikaans and a ‘magazine’ in English
    • vet – an exception and included. An abbreviation for ‘veterinarian’ and ‘obese’ in Afrikaans.
    • veg – an exception and included. An abbreviation for ‘vegetables’, and ‘to fight’ in Afrikaans.

     

    No diacritical marks:

    • reel/reels, to stagger or a film spool in English is acceptable, but reël/reëls, rule and rules in Afrikaans have a dieresis and are excluded
    • blase, Blisters in Afrikaans, but blasé in English has an acute accent mark and is not accepted

     

     

    Where meanings are close for some entries, especially of the same word in its plural or in a certain grammatical sense, only the entry with the most letters will be chosen

    • gun/guns – take only guns
    • die/dies – take only dies
    • kale/kales – take only kales

     

     

     

    Exceptions:

    • re-use or reuse is sometimes spelled with a hyphen in British English and without one in American English and because of its rarity in the list (the eu-) it is included.
    • The word ‘week’ is entered as ‘a period of seven days’ – English and as ‘weak or ineffective’ and ‘to soak’ in Afrikaans. But, week is also ‘a period of seven days’ in Afrikaans. In WORD WOES this synonymity is of course an oversight

     

    Willem Boshoff 2014

  • WORD WOES meanings

     

    ENTRY

    ENGLISH

    AFRIKAANS

     

    Angel

    Imaginary celestial being with wings

    Sharp-pointed stinger at rear-end of a bee, scorpion, etc.

    are

    Plural present form of the verb ‘be’

    Veins, arteries

    arts

    Various types of creative activity

    Doctor, such as a children’s doctor, dentist or veterinarian

    bad

    Terrible, depraved, worthless

    To wash oneself in water

    balk

    Hesitant or unwilling to accept a proposal

    Wooden beam

    bane

    Reason for anguish or annoyance

    Lanes, as in racing or athletics

    bang

    Loud explosive noise

    To have fear and trepidation

    banger

    Sausage, usually eaten at breakfast

    Greater fear; more trepidation

    BARING

    Exposing or revealing (of secrets, facts, the body)

    Having a child or children; parturition

    bars

    Metal rods; counters for serving drinks; society of lawyers

    To crack up; to burst open

    base

    Bottom support; plinth; main area to operate from

    Bosses; persons in charge

    beef

    Prepared meat from cows and bulls

    To shiver, shake or tremble

    been

    Past participle of the verb ‘be’

    Bone; leg

    beer

    Alcoholic drink distilled from yeast, malt, barley, hops etc.

    Bear (shaggy, erect animal, mostly northern hemisphere)

    bees

    Insects that give us honey

    Cow, bull, ox

    bid

    To make an offer; to greet (I bid you a fond farewell)

    To pray

    blare

    Loud, penetrating, mostly annoying sound

    Leaves, foliage

    blink

    Quick shut and open of the eye or eyes

    Shiny, polished – as a surface

    bode

    Sensing of a future event; omen

    Messenger; courier

    BOG

    Soft, marshy, muddy area of ground

    Nonsense; claptrap; drivel

    BONE

    Hard substance forming a skeleton

    Edible bean seeds; green beans (in husks); bean plants

    boom

    Loud resonant bang; pole blocking road; surge in prosperity

    Tree

    BOON

    Useful, beneficial item

    Singular, edible bean seed; singular bean plant

    boor

    Vulgar, unmannerly person

    To drill; a tool that performs drilling

    boos

    Exclamations of sudden surprise; cries of disapproval

    Fuming; angry

    boot

    Sturdy shoe; trunk of a car

    Boat; ship

    bore

    To be dull and uninteresting, such a person

    Hand drills or drilling machines

    bout

    Short spell of intense activity

    Bolt, as in a steel nut and bolt

    BRAND

    Name and advertising status of a product, campaign, etc.

    Fire, to burn

    BRANDERS

    Those who promote through advertising

    Large waves of the sea

    breed

    Animal stock, to rear a line of animals

    Broad, wide

    brief

    Lasting for a short while, underpants

    Letter; written note

    brood

    To mope or worry; offspring or litter of one parentage

    Bread; basic food that supports life

    bulk

    Massive size and weight of large items

    Characteristic sound of a cow; to make a moo sound

    dank

    Offensively damp, mouldy and cold

    To thank; thankfulness

    dapper

    Neat and trim in looks, posture or dress (mostly of men)

    Courageous; daring; gutsy

    DEN

    Lair of a wild animal; a room for leisurely or illicit activity

    Pine tree

    dies

    Stops living; to die

    This; these

    dig

    To create a hole in the ground, to rummage about

    Compact, compressed or dense; to write poetry

    DOER

    One who acts or does

    Far away, way over there

    dog

    Canine capable of barking, man’s best friend

    To have understood; to have a resident thought

    dons

    Puts on a hat or piece of clothing

    Small piece of fluff, down or fur

    dope

    Banned performance enhancing substance; stupid person

    Plural of baptism or christening

    DOPING

    Administering illicit drugs

    Dunking of biscuit into drink; baptism

    dose

    Quantity of medicine or drug; to medicate correct amount

    Boxes; packages

    DOWER

    Widow’s share of her husband’s estate

    More deaf

    drag

    Pull along roughly, usually by force

    Wear; clothing suitable for specific purpose

    DRAKE

    Male duck; artificial or natural ‘mayfly’ as bait in fly fishing

    Plural of draak or (‘dragon’ in English)

    elders

    People of greater age than the rest of a group

    Elsewhere; in a different place

    elk

    Red deer, native to North America

    Each; every; both

    else

    Otherwise; besides

    Plural of els (awl - small pointed tool for making holes)

    ERE

    Before; earlier than

    Honour and respect

    EWE

    Female sheep

    Similarly; likewise

    FEE

    Payment; compensation; tip

    Fairy; small, imaginary, winged female creature

    FEES

    Plural of ‘fee’ (payment and compensation)

    Festival; celebration

    Flits

    To move swiftly, lightly (as insects do briefly in the sun)

    Battery operated torch

    gang

    Band of criminals; group of labourers

    Passage in a building; channel of access

    gaps

    Breaks or holes between objects; openings; breaches

    To steal furtively; to pinch or pilfer

    gate

    Movable blockade allowing entrance or exit

    Holes; gaps; cavities

    gee

    Exclamation of surprise, enthusiasm or sympathy

    To give; to award; to donate

    GELID

    Extremely cold; frozen solid

    Orderly formation of troops or detachment of men

    GLAD

    Content and satisfied; happy

    Glabrous, soft and smooth to the touch

    gladder

    More delighted or pleased

    More smooth; more slippery; more slick

    GLANS

    The rounded tip of the penis

    Glossy shine; polished sheen

    grate

    Turning food into small particles by rubbing it on a device

    Fish bones

    gulp

    To swallow in one motion; to ‘knock back’ a drink

    Buttoned fastening in front of men’s pants; zipper

    guns

    Weapons that shoot bullets

    Favour; act of kindness

    hake

    Common fish, often prepared commercially

    Hooks; bent and sharp-ended metal fasteners

    hare

    Fast running, long eared animal that resembles the rabbit

    Hair; locks or curls of hair

    hark

    To listen attentively; to call to memory

    Rake; to scratch together by means of a rake

    heel

    Back part of the foot below the ankle

    To heal; to made whole or repair; to nurse back to health

    held

    Past participle of ‘hold’; having grasped or detained

    Hero; celebrated brave man

    her

    Third person singular pronoun; of the female

    Previously; long since; in the past

    HERD

    A group of animals that live together

    Fireplace for cooking; hearth

    here

    In this place; in this position

    Gentlemen; men

    hits

    To punch by hand, bat or racket; to strike by missile or ball

    To foment trouble; to provoke into action

    HOE

    Long-handled, bladed tool used for weeding and tilling

    How, why

    hoes

    Tools for weeding and loosening soil

    Act or sound of coughing; to cough

    hole

    Tunnel or cavity in a solid substance

    Hovels; dens for disagreeable activity

    HOLLER

    To give a loud cry or shout

    More hollow; more empty

    hoof

    Hard shell that forms the foot of cattle, antelope and such

    Forehead; person in charge; most important or main

    hoop

    Round or semi-circular band of metal; large ring-like jump

    Hope; expectation

    hope

    Expectation; anticipation

    Heaps; piles; stacks; mounds

    HOPING

    Expecting, eagerly awaiting or longing

    Piling or stacking up

    jammer

    Transmitter (or person) for jamming signals

    Sorry; with apology

    jig

    Lively dance, a template for guiding manufacture

    Gout; dietary disease causing a type of arthritis

    KALES

    Cabbages with prominent stem, large leaves, but no head

    Naked people; men or women wearing no clothes

    keel

    Bottom part of a ship or boat that is under water

    Throat; gullet

    keep

    To have or retain possession; situation necessary for living

    Notch; nick; prominent cut-mark

    KILLER

    Murderer; slayer of animals; an animal that kills

    More frigid or cold in attitude

    kind

    Items, people sharing similarity, generosity of temperament

    Child; youngster

    lag

    To fall behind; to trail at the back; time difference

    To laugh; laughter; chuckle

    lank

    Long, straight and wilted – of hair

    Tall; long; extended; lengthy

    lap

    Hips, knees when seated; race-track circuit; drink with tongue

    Cloth; fabric

    late

    Behind in time; occurring at the very end; dead, deceased

    As in: doene and late – things done and things not done

    leek

    Vegetable related to the onion but with elongated ball

    Layman; one without expert or specialized knowledge

    leer

    To stare unpleasantly, maliciously or lasciviously

    Ladder, stepladder

    lees

    Sediment at the bottom of a barrel of wine; dregs (fig.)

    To read or peruse; to understand writing

    LEG

    A limb that supports the human body, tables or chairs etc.

    To lay out charts; to explain problems

    lid

    Cover such as of a container or eye; top, as in ‘bottletop’

    Member; associate; limb of the body

    lied

    Having told untruths, having made false statements

    Song; music composed in part or mainly of words

    lies

    Untruths, false statements, fibs

    Groin; the thigh, especially higher up, near the body

    links

    Connections between things or ideas; rings in a chain

    Left, as in ‘not right’; to the left-hand side

    LINT

    Fine, fluffy fibres shed by cloth or woollen material

    Ribbon; narrow band of cloth for tying

    LIT

    Past participle of ‘light’

    Joint of the body; internode on a reed or grass

    lone

    Single; having no companions

    Salaries; loans; fees earned

    long

    Extended; lengthy; to have a strong wish or desire

    Lung; organ that facilitates breathing

    loom

    Device for making fabric; to appear in large shadowy form

    Sense of dull, sleepy languor

    loop

    Curve folding back on itself; repeat of music tape or video

    To walk; to stroll; course of a river

    loot

    To burgle or ransack; booty; spoils

    Offshoot of a plant; method of casting of the lot

    lootS

    Robs; raids

    A hangar for vehicles such as bicycles or aeroplanes

    lower

    Nearer to the ground

    Greenery or foliage in a forest or bush

    LUG

    To carry or drag; peg or hook for mounting or hanging

    Air; atmosphere; sky; heavens

    MALE

    Gender of men as opposed to women; pertaining to men

    Times; instances

    mane

    Growth or ruff of hair on the neck of a horse, lion, etc.

    Moons, especially moons orbiting planets such as Jupiter

    MARES

    Females of horse, mule or donkey

    Skinny or thin ones

    mate

    A companion, especially in a pair; friend; to breed

    Measurements; dimensions;

    meet

    To get together; to encounter

    To measure; to size up

    mere

    No more than; solely; smallest or slightest

    Lakes; large inland bodies of water

    MINDER

    One who looks after something or someone

    Less; fewer; a smaller amount

    MITE

    Microscopically small tick; small child or animal

    Myth; unverifiable historical report; widely held false belief

    MOLES

    Small burrowing mammals; spies; flat, dark lumps on skin

    Fracas; disturbance; quarrel

    moor

    Piece of overgrown upland; heath; to fasten a ship on shore

    To murder; to massacre

    moot

    Subject to debate; uncertainty

    Valley between two ridges; to cut into pieces

    more

    A greater amount or degree; additional; to a larger extent

    Tomorrow; the day following today

    nag

    To irritate with continuous demands or fault finding; old horse

    Night; hours of darkness

    NODE

    A point at which lines intersect; knob on a plant stem

    Emergencies; crises; urgent situations

    nut

    Fruit with hard kernel; edible fruit kernel

    Use; usefulness; useful employ

    oral

    By word of mouth; related to the mouth

    Everywhere; all over the place

    ORE

    Rock extracted from the earth for the making of metal

    Ears; ear-shaped attachments, for example, ears of a jug

    pad

    Material that lessens friction; paper sheets for writing on

    Road; highway; pathway; trail

    pal

    Friend; comrade

    Always; all the time

    pale

    Faded or light in colour

    Fencing posts; football posts

    PALING

    Becoming bleak and pale

    Eel; snakelike fish

    pant

    Taking short breaths in excitement or from fatigue

    Pawn; wager; pledge

    pare

    To trim or cut away the edges

    Twosomes; groups of two

    pars

    More than one level to be attained (golf)-

    To squash or press grapes in winemaking

    peer

    Look intently; person of the same age or standing

    Pear; pear tree

    pens

    Instruments for writing or drawing

    Stomach of an animal; belly

    perk

    To increase in cheerfulness or liveliness; a benefit

    Boundary; scope; range; lawn

    PET

    Darling animal; one’s favourite

    Cap; soft flat hat without a brim but with a front visor

    PLATTER

    Large, flat plate or dish

    More flat and level; smooth and without lumps (surface)

    POETS

    Those who write verses or poetry

    To shine shoes or leather objects; prank; practical joke

    pomp

    Splendid ceremonial presentation

    To pump; to force an answer; a pump

    pond

    Small area of water, often to keep fish

    Unit of weight comprising sixteen ounces; British currency

    pool

    Area of still water; a patch of liquid, as ‘pool’ of blood

    Pole as in either of two opposite ends; north or south pole

    POP

    To make a sudden, explosive sound – to ‘pop’ a balloon

    Doll; term of endearment for a small girl

    power

    Ability or authority to perform; physical strength; energy

    Poor; useless; ineffective; under-achieving

    pram

    Baby carriage

    Breast, especially on an animal

    PROP

    Supporting structure or item; to underpin or support

    Bottletop; cork or other stopper

    punt

    Long, flat-bottomed boat; to kick a hand-released ball; to bet

    Full-stop; point; tip; aim; purpose

    PUT

    To place or bring into position

    Well; hole sunk into the earth to obtain water

    RAKER

    Person who rakes, collects or gathers

    More accurate; more precise

    RAKING

    Act of gathering leaves or other garden debris

    Tangency; contact; touching

    ramp

    Slope or incline in a road or walkway

    Disaster; tragedy; catastrophe

    RANG

    Past tense of ring

    Rank; position in the hierarchy of army, police, etc.

    RANGE

    Scope or extent; variety; large complex stove

    Ranks; positions in the hierarchy of army, police, etc.

    rank

    Position in chain of command of army, police, etc.; to smell

    Of plants, to creep; to grow along the ground or a trellis

    rant

    To ramble or rage in speech

    Extended, sprawling hill

    rape

    To force sexual intercourse; leaves of a kind of cabbage

    Turnips; round root vegetables

    raps

    Informal chatters; striking audible noises

    To mete out corporal punishment, especially to children

    RAT

    Rodent resembling a large mouse

    Gear; cog; driving mechanism of toothed wheels

    rate

    Measure or frequency compared to others; speed; tariff

    Remedies for illness, discomfort or problems

    rats

    Large rodents resembling mice and moles

    Quick and nimble of movement

    red

    A primary colour, such as of blood or strawberries

    To save (bring about salvation); to rescue

    REDDER

    More red, especially when blushing

    Saviour; redeemer; rescuer

    reeds

    Tall, thick grass-like plants that grow near water

    Already; before; by now

    reeks

    Stinks or smells unpleasantly

    Series; sequence

    rein

    Narrow leather strap with which to steer and check a horse

    Pure of heart; chaste

    reuse

    To utilize again; to use more than once

    Giants; colossal or gigantic

    rig

    To prepare a boat for sailing; apparatus set up for a purpose

    To aim; to aspire; to point toward

    ROB

    To steal, burgle or pinch

    Sea lion; seal; a fish-eating, fish-like mammal with flippers

    romp

    To prance about playfully, in an energetic way; to frolic

    Woman’s dress or skirt

    roof

    Structure covering a building, vehicle

    Robbery, especially armed robbery; to plunder and steal

    rook

    Black crow; chess piece in battlement tower shape

    Smoke or to smoke; to smoulder

    room

    Space; habitable or storage area, mostly with walls and door

    Cream; soft ointment

    ROOSTERS

    Male domestic fowls; cocks

    Metal frameworks for cooking; time tables

    ROT

    To become putrid; to decay

    Rat, rodent resembling large mouse

    rots

    Putrifies; decomposes

    Rock; large stone

    rower

    Oarsman; one who propels a boat with oars

    Thief; robber; burglar

    rug

    Shaggy, woven mat covering part of a floor

    Back and spine; rear surface of human or animal body

    RYE

    Wheat-like cereal plant used for whiskey, fodder and bread

    Rows; lines of objects or people

    sag

    To fold or bend down under weight

    Soft to the touch; gentle; smooth

    SAGE

    Profoundly wise man; aromatic herb

    Myth, legend; fairy-tale

    SAKE

    For the purpose of; expression of irritation (for pity’s ‘sake’!)

    Business affairs; matters (of the heart etc.); court cases

    sale

    Transaction in which money, goods or services are traded

    Halls for gatherings, meetings and concerts; saddles

    SAME

    Similar; identical, matching

    Together, jointly, mutually

    SAT

    Past tense of sit; to have taken a seat

    Exhausted; worn out; tired; conked out; had it

    see

    To observe visually; region as denoted by a cathedral

    Sea; ocean

    seep

    To leak or flow slowly through a porous material or gap

    Soap; cleansing material for washing dishes, clothing, etc.

    seer

    Diviner; one who can reveal the truth through special insight

    Hurtful; painful; sore; aching

    sent

    Past participle of ‘send’

    Cent, the smallest unit of the South African currency

    sin

    Immoral act; to transgress against a divine law

    Sentence as a string of words; sense; meaning

    skater

    One who glides on ice or moves on shoes with small wheels

    To laugh out loud; to laugh with free abandon

    skewer

    Spike of wood or metal on which pieces of food are cooked

    More skew; more twisted at incorrect angles

    skim

    To remove the top layer from a liquid; to peruse a text

    Phantom; apparition

    SKINK

    Smooth lizard with short or absent legs

    To decant; to pour tea, coffee or other drinks

    skip

    Move with spring in the step; to omit some; large container

    Boat; ship; seafaring vessel

    slag

    Waste material at the smelting or refining of ore

    Loud bang or clash; to butcher an animal

    slams

    Shuts with force; smashes; hits suddenly, as slams on brakes

    Of the Cape Coloured Muslim people or their habits

    slang

    Informal and colloquial language not used in acceptable text

    Snake; long tube-like reptile with no legs

    slap

    To smack – an instance of such; to spank, cuff or clout

    Yielding; elastic and limp; lacking rigidity

    sleep

    To slumber; state of rest when we are unaware of the world

    To drag; to haul; to pull

    SLIM

    Thin of posture or figure

    Astute; shrewd, clever, crafty

    slimMER

    More gracefully thin; more slender; more slight of build

    More clever; more smart; more intelligent

    sloop

    One-masted sailboat

    Cushion cover;

    SLOPE

    Incline; gradient; rise in a surface

    Pillowcases

    smart

    Elegantly dressed; clever; bright; hurting from insult or pain

    Anguish over death; sadness at the loss of a loved one

    snags

    Unexpected, hidden obstacles; hitches or catches; difficulties

    At night; when the dark of night settles in

    snap

    To break off suddenly; to nip at; sudden cracking sound

    To understand or grasp; to comprehend

    snare

    Trap for catching birds or animals

    Strings, especially on a guitar, violin, harp and such

    snip

    To cut swiftly with scissors or shears; act of such cutting

    Girl who makes snappy, often cutting remarks; off-cut

    SOLDER

    To fuse metal together with tin or lead; tin, lead used as such

    Attic; space or room just below the roof of a building

    sole

    Exclusive; one and only; undersurface of a shoe; flatfish

    Rubber, plastic or leather bottoms of shoes

    some

    A number of; certain

    Hems on garments, tablecloths and such

    son

    Male child; boy or man in relation to his parents

    Sun; intensely bright star around which the earth orbits

    sop

    Piece of bread dipped in soup; ineffective action to appease

    Soup; thick liquid dish of vegetables, meat and such

    SPANNER

    Tool for loosening and fastening bolts

    One who erects fences or who rigs high tensile wires

    spat

    Past participle of spit (spew out); petty quarrel

    To sprinkle a liquid; to scatter drops of fluid

    spies

    Secret agents; persons who secretly gather information

    Spear; weapon with a long shaft and pointed tip

    SPITS

    Ejects saliva forcibly from the mouth

    Mountain peak; climax; top of a pointed tower

    SPOKE

    Shaft connecting rim of wheel to centre; past tense of speak

    Ghosts; spectres; apparitions

    spore

    Minute cell capable of propagation, as in fungi and ferns

    Footprints; animal tracks

    spot

    Blemish; small round conspicuous mark; to notice something

    To mock or ridicule; to make fun of or tease

    STAKING

    To mark a territory (as in staking a claim)

    To cease work; to strike (as an industrial action)

    stamp

    To put foot down with force; official mark on paper

    Shove forcibly; crash into a vehicle, thing or person

    star

    Bright heavenly body visible at night; radiating pointed sign

    Having a fixed, vacant appearance or stare

    STAT

    Short for photostat or statistic

    Primitive town situated in rural area

    steeds

    Horses available for riding; stallions

    Nevertheless; in spite of everything

    steel

    Hard, bluish-grey metal derived mostly from iron ore

    To take from others without permission; to steal

    stem

    Stalk on a plant; supporting shaft (as ‘stem’ of a wine glass)

    Voice; vote as indication of choice

    stomp

    To tread heavily and noisily, often in display of anger

    Tree trunk; blunt; having lost the edge

    stout

    Overweight and heavily built; strong and thick, as ‘stout’ beer

    Naughty; disobedient; badly behaved

    STROKE

    Hitting; heart attack; to move the hand gently across surface

    Brush strokes; strips as in longish pieces of paper or cloth

    sulks

    Displays bad temper by being silently morose

    Such, as in ‘as such’; in that case

    sure

    Certain; convinced; confident

    Acids; chemical compounds that eats away at substances

    swam

    Past tense of swim; having propelled the body through water

    Fungal development; mouldy growth

    p

    To clean an area with a broom or brush; a swift movement

    Whip as a piece of leather on a stick, used for flogging

    sweet

    Sugary or syrupy to the taste; lovable and pleasant

    Sweat; moisture that appears on skin through exercise

    SWIG

    To drink in heavy gulps; a sizeable drink as swallowed

    To give in; to yield or succumb

    take

    To lay hold of something; to appropriate; to accept

    Chores; assignments; tasks

    TALE

    Story; fabricated account

    Languages; tongues

    TANG

    Strong taste, flavour or smell

    Pliers; tongs used for gripping objects and bending wire

    tans

    To cause the skin to darken in the sun; to cure leather

    Presently; occurring now; at the moment

    tart

    Tasty pastry dish; promiscuous woman; sharp tasting flavour

    To tease; to mock; to make fun of

    Tee

    In golf, a small peg holding the ball – to ‘tee’ off

    Tea; hot drink of boiling water and crushed leaves

    teen

    Teenager or pertaining to teenagers

    In opposition to; hostile to; adjacent to or touching

    ten

    The number 10; a group of ten

    At, as in ‘at best’ (ten beste);

    tier

    One of a number of rows, staggered one above the other

    Tiger; a huge, dark-yellow cat with black stripes

    toe

    One of the five digits of a foot; the lower end of something

    At that time or then; whilst

    TOG

    Football boot; to put on clothes

    Yet; nevertheless; in spite of that

    tone

    Quality of sound; condition of things like muscles or places

    Toes; digits of the human foot or of the feet of birds, etc.

    tong

    Chinese secret society; handle used for lifting

    Tongue; organ of speech and of taste

    tot

    Very young child; small measure of alcoholic drink; to add

    Until; in anticipation of; pending

    tower

    Tall, narrow building; to rise to great height, one who tows

    Magic; conjuring power

    trap

    Device used to ensnare animals; to catch and hold

    Step on staircase; rung on ladder; to step on; to run over

    tree

    Large woody plant with branches

    Footstep; unit of space measured by a step when walking

    trope

    Word expressing a figurative or metaphoric sense

    Tropics; region between tropics of Cancer and Capricorn

    TROTS

    To move at a pace faster than a walk

    Pride; self-importance; self-esteem

    tug

    To pull, jerk or tow; a hard or sudden pull; towing boat

    To chastise or castigate; to inflict punishment

    twee

    Unduly and affectedly quaint; pretty or sentimental

    The number two – one has two hands, eyes, etc.

    valeS

    Valleys, especially in place names or poetic use

    Pale ones; colourless, grey ones

    van

    Covered truck used for transporting goods or people

    From or of; belonging to; from the time when

    veer

    To change direction; to swerve off course

    Feather; blade facilitating spring-loaded suspension

    VEG

    Short for vegetables

    To fight in battle; to dispute an issue

    VEIL

    Shroud; cloth worn by women to cover the face

    To sell by auction

    veins

    Tubes that carry blood in body; ore-bearing streaks in rock

    To feign; to pretend; to put on

    vent

    To find expression for; opening that allows air or gas to flow

    Coarse, uncouth fellow; impolite, annoying man

    VET

    Abbreviation for ‘veterinarian’; to approve critically

    fat (as in both ‘obese’ and in ‘animal fat’)

    vies

    To compete keenly in order to achieve something

    Angry; annoyed; irritated

    vroom

    Roaring sound of an engine or implement

    Pious; living by deep religious standards

    wag

    Of animals, to move the tail rapidly; to wave a finger

    To wait; to stay; to pause in one’s activities; a guard

    WAKER

    One who awakes from sleep, or academic dormancy

    One who keeps vigil against things that might go wrong

    wand

    A long, thin stick, especially one that can create magic

    Wall; inside wall-surface of a hollow space

    want

    To desire; to wish or yearn for; to crave

    Because; for the reason that

    war

    Conflict; state of armed conflict; confrontation

    State of bedevilment or confusion

    ware

    Ceramics or porcelain of specific type; manufactured articles

    Genuine; authentic; indisputable; legitimate

    WARTS

    Small outgrowths on the skin

    Furtively, as in woerts warts (whizz – ‘this way and that’)

    wed

    To marry; married to

    To wager or gamble; to place a bet

    week

    Period of seven days

    Weak or ineffective; to soak; period of seven days

    wend

    To find one’s way; to go somewhere slowly or indirectly

    To turn to; to fix trust or reliance on a person or something

    wet

    Damp; drenched; soaked; to drench; to water plants

    Law; commandment; rule; regulation

    WETTER

    More covered or saturated with water or other liquid

    Unpleasant, despicable person (pejorative)

    wig

    Head covering made of false or real hair

    Small child; tapering wedge of some material; to wedge

    WINK

    To close and open one eye briefly

    To motion for someone to come; to beckon

    WINS

    Wins; experiences victory or success

    Profit; proceeds; turnover; advantage, windfall

    WIT

    Sharpness of reason; intelligent humour

    White, as the colour of milk; ashen

    woes

    Afflictions; miseries; sorrows and distress

    With wild abandon; unkempt and untamed

    word

    Utterance; single unit of expression in speech or writing

    To become; to turn out to be; to develop into

    worse

    More bad in any sense, as more awful, evil or sick

    Sausages; different types of sausages