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From Dutch variously ascribed to mean stutterer; and from hot en tot being an approximation of common sounds in the Khoi language. First known use 1677 (in Dutch).

Proper noun[edit]

Hottentot ‎(plural Hottentots)

  1. (archaic or offensive) A member of the Khoekhoe group of peoples.
    • 1798-1801, Lady Ann Barnard, Letters and Journals
      I was told that the Hottentots were uncommonly ugly and disgusting, but I do not think them so bad. Their features are small and their cheekbones immense, but they have a kind expression and countenance.
  2. The language of the Khoi, remarkable for its clicks.
    • 1913, George Bernard Shaw, Pygmalion
      "I have tried her with every sort of sound that a human being can make...Hottentot clicks, things it took me years to get hold of."
  3. Any of several fish of the genus Pachymetopon, in the family Sparidae.

Derived terms[edit]


See also[edit]


  • Webster's International Dictionary 1902.
  • Jean Bradford: A dictionary of South African English: Oxford 1978.