Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. An enclosure of bushes or stakes protecting a campsite or village in northeast Africa.
  • n. A campsite or village protected by such an enclosure.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. an improvised stockade constructed especially of thornbushes and used for defense in parts of Africa
  • n. a village protected by such a structure

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. An improvised stockade; especially, one made of thorn bushes, etc.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. In Sudan and adjoining parts of Africa, an inclosure against enemies or wild animals, as by a thorn-hedge; a fortified camp in general. Also written zareeba, zereba, zeriba, etc.

Etymologies

Arabic zarība, cattle pen.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

  • I have been having it over with black Mak, and he's quite at home here and is on the look out for a place where we can build up what they calls a zareba of bushes and rock with a good fire inside.

    Dead Man's Land Being the Voyage to Zimbambangwe of certain and uncertain

  • Luttrell had an hour free, and the zareba was the one spectacle in

    The Summons

  • It was well past noon when Nefer crept up close to them, and climbed a tamarind tree from which he could spy over the thornbush zareba that surrounded the camp.

    Warlock

  • That evening they kept on travelling after the main army had encamped and after sunset they came upon a large zareba of poles and thornbushes just off the road.

    Warlock

  • Then he knew that he was entrapped by the sand that was filtering into their shelter through the chinks in the zareba wall.

    Warlock

  • Then I built up a mound of logs into a protective zareba around the straw bed and stood back, puffing slightly.

    Every living thing

  • I had been waiting for about a quarter of an hour by a stall of flowers when a truck-load of police drove up with a grinding of brakes and a squeal of rubber from the direction of the Surete Headquarters in the rue Catinat: the men disembarked and ran for the store, as though they were charging a mob, but there was no mob-only a zareba of bicycles.

    The Quiet American

  • Therefore, though assured that we should be much safer within the zareba, and deeply against the wishes of the servants, we insisted upon leading the way outside, and choosing a spot as far removed from the fence as possible, though only too near for our own comfort.

    In the Tail of the Peacock

  • One of the few peaceful camping-grounds between Marrakesh and Mazagan was at a little distance outside an Arab village of about thirty little pointed thatched huts, enclosed within a zareba of thorn-bushes: it was called Smeera.

    In the Tail of the Peacock

  • I recollect how, the evening before, there sat outside Smeera, as so often may be seen outside the like villages, away beyond the huts and the zareba, where it was very quiet, upon some flat grey stones, eight or twelve village men -- Arabs.

    In the Tail of the Peacock

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Comments

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  • Zareba – a protective hedge around a village or camp, particularly in the Sudan. Used to great effect by PG Wodehouse in, for example, The Clicking Of Cuthbert, with his description of a Russian novelist: "Vladimir Brusiloff had permitted his face to become almost entirely concealed behind a dense zareba of hair."
    (Peter Skinner, Morpeth, UK)

    October 15, 2008