Kaffir

Kaffir

[kaf-er, kah-fer]
noun, plural Kaffirs (especially collectively) Kaffir.
1.
Disparaging and Offensive. (in South Africa) a black person: originally used of the Xhosa people only.
2.
(lowercase) kafir ( def 4 ).
3.
(lowercase) Islam. kafir ( def 2 ).

Origin:
1780–90; < Arabic kāfir unbeliever, infidel, skeptic

non-Kaffir, noun
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World English Dictionary
Kaffir or Kafir (ˈkæfə)
 
n , pl -firs, -fir
1.  taboo (in southern Africa) any Black African
2.  offensive (among Muslims) a non-Muslim or infidel
 
usage  In South Africa the use of this word is nowadays completely taboo, and is indeed actionable in the courts. It is also advisable not to use the word in any of the compounds to which it gave rise.
 
Kafir or Kafir
 
n
 
usage  In South Africa the use of this word is nowadays completely taboo, and is indeed actionable in the courts. It is also advisable not to use the word in any of the compounds to which it gave rise.

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Word Origin & History

kaffir
1790, from Arabic qafir "unbeliever, infidel, impious wretch," with a lit. sense of "one who does not admit the blessings of God," from kafara "to cover up, conceal, deny." Technically, "non-Muslim," but in Ottoman times it came to be used almost exclusively for "Christian." Early Eng. missionaries used
it as an equivalent of "heathen" to refer to Bantus in South Africa (1792), from which use it came generally to mean "South African black" regardless of ethnicity, and to be a term of abuse since at least 1934.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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