middelmannetjie

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English[edit]

A horse-drawn wagon in deep ruts on a muddy road in Illinois, USA, c. 1903

Etymology[edit]

Borrowing from Afrikaans middelmannetjie(little man in the middle) (analysable as middel(middle) + man(man) +‎ -etjie(suffix indicating a diminutive)), from Dutch middel(middle) + mannetje(a short man) (from man(man) + -etje, a variant of -tje(suffix indicating a diminutive)).

Pronunciation[edit]

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Noun[edit]

middelmannetjie ‎(plural middelmannetjies)

  1. (South Africa) A ridge between ruts made by wheels in a dirt or gravel road.
    • 1996, Clive Walker, Signs of the Wild, 5th edition, Cape Town: Struik Publishers, ISBN 978-1-86825-896-3, page 141:
      Spoor [of a hippopotamus] [] Well-worn paths, some 20 cm wide, lead up from rivers, the four-toed tracks running parallel, and clearly indicating a ‘middelmannetjie’.
    • 2005, Shirley Bell, The Happy Warrior: The Story of T. C. Robertson, Howick, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa: T. C. Robertson Trust, ISBN 978-0-620-33255-2, page 23:
      An old Ford was going down a road that had a formidable middelmannetjie (hump down the middle). This middelmannetjie was so high that the front axle of the car caught on it, the car somersaulted, and Trichardt and his passenger, a man called Van Niekerk, were flung out and broke their necks.
    • 2005, Graham [K.] Jooste, Rugby Stories from the Platteland, Johannesburg: 30° South Publishers, ISBN 978-0-9584890-1-0, page 36:
      The farm road with the high middelmannetjie finally came out at a big farmhouse with a lot of chickens running around.
    • 2009, Jonathan Lawley, Beyond the Malachite Hills: A Life of Colonial Service and Business in the New Africa, London; New York, N.Y.: I.B. Tauris, ISBN 978-1-282-64260-7:
      [T]he two tracks made by four-wheel-drive vehicles with high clearances left a never-ending high point in the middle – the middelmannetjie as known to local whites. I had to keep either the right or the left wheels on it.
    • 2013, Deon Meyer, Dirt Busters: A Guide to Adventure Motorbiking, Cape Town: Tafelberg, ISBN 978-0-624-05681-2:
      [Y]ou are riding at 80 km/h on a typical Karoo dirt road, with clear two lane tyre tracks, and a middelmannetjie – that collection of sand, pebbles and dust dividing the 'lanes'. You are looking at the herd of springbok to your right, and you stray onto the middelmannetjie. The back wheel starts hunting and swerving.

Afrikaans[edit]

Etymology[edit]

middel(middle) + man(man) +‎ -etjie(suffix indicating a diminutive).

Pronunciation[edit]

  • (South Africa) IPA(key): /ˈmɪd(ə)lˌmʌnəki/
  • Hyphenation: mid‧del‧man‧ne‧tjie

Noun[edit]

middelmannetjie ‎(plural middelmannetjies)

  1. Middelmannetjie.