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Hottentot


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Used to refer to Khoikhoi peoples of South Africa and Namibia. The term comes from Dutch, perhaps a repetitive formula in a Nama dancing-song, transferred by Dutch sailors to the people themselves, or from German hotteren-totteren ‘stutter’ (with reference to their click language).

The word Hottentot is first recorded in the late 17th century and was a name applied by white Europeans to the Khoikhoi. It is now regarded as offensive with reference to people and should always be avoided in favour of Khoikhoi or the names of the particular peoples. The only standard use for Hottentot in modern use is in the names of animals and plants.


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