noun (plural assegais)
1A slender, iron-tipped, hardwood spear used chiefly by southern African peoples.
- Inside the village, park visitors could divide their attention, and their spare change, between a fortune-telling ‘bone thrower’ and a neutered ‘warrior,’ harmlessly gyrating with his assegai and shield.
- Their assailants were armed with knobkierries, assegais and machetes.
- Police recovered five rifles, 18 sidearms, 84 bullets, and 700 assegais in follow-up house-to-house searches.
2 (also assegai wood) A South African tree of the dogwood family that yields hard timber.
- Curtisia dentata, family Cornaceae.
- They surveyed the forest and studied the trees, identifying yellow wood, stinkwood, assegai wood, pear, alder and half a dozen other varieties.
- Other common trees of the forests read like nature's picnic basket: wild pear, wild peach, African holly, assegai wood, forest olive or ironwood, white stinkwood… the list goes on.
verb (assegais, assegaing, assegaied)[with object]
Wound or kill with an assegai.
- We retired well, but I shall never forget the Kaffirs getting in amongst us and assegaing our poor fellows.
- Many of the soldiers indeed were assegaied before they could leave their tents, most were slaughtered at once, but a few managed to swim across the river.
- One determined Zulu even jumped over the barricade and assegaied a disoriented patient to death, though he himself was quickly picked off by a British rifleman.
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