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/fleɪ; vleɪ/
(South African) an area of low marshy ground, esp one that feeds a stream
(Northern US, dialect) a marsh
Word Origin
C19: from Afrikaans (for sense 1); from obsolete N American Dutch dialect (for sense 2): valley
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Examples from the Web for vlei
Historical Examples
  • Out of the vlei rushed the buffalo by dozens, every one of them making remarks in its own language as it came.

    Child of Storm H. Rider Haggard
  • The vlei must be there; it was heart-breaking to be baffled in this way.

    Tales of South Africa H.A. Bryden
  • And yet Tobias was no fool; he described the vlei very plainly to us more than once; and he firmly believed in it.

    Tales of South Africa H.A. Bryden
  • We walked up quickly to the spot, but first went to the vlei, for a little water.

  • First, they drink deeply and long at the vlei, which now reflects upon its glassy surface the ruddy glories of the sunset.

    Tales of South Africa H.A. Bryden
  • We retreated in close order into the bush on the opposite side of the vlei—the other side from the scherms.

  • We skirted the vlei to our left, got round the end of it, and at once rode through a lot of scherms containing hundreds of people.

  • Descending a steep declivity, we posted ourselves, I at the top, and Higgs and Orme a little way down either side of this vlei.

    Queen Sheba's Ring H. Rider Haggard
  • One is beside the vlei near the Bavians Kloof; the other is in the thorn-bushes a mile from it.

  • Aloft an eagle is already on the move, and a hawk or two, no doubt meditating descent upon some of the wildfowl on the vlei.

    Tales of South Africa H.A. Bryden

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