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The origin is unclear; W. Ten Rhyne (1673) places it as one of the "Corrupt Dutch Words". If that identification is accurate, its origin may be Dutch kuras (cuirass).


kaross (plural karosses)

  1. (South Africa) A treated animal-skin cloak or blanket with the hair still left on.
    • 1878, "The Caracal" in the Encyclopædia Britannica, 9th ed., Vol. V, p. 81:
      In South Africa, where the caracal abounds, its hide is made by the Kaffres into skin cloaks, known as karosses.
    • 1897, James Bryce, Impressions of South Africa, p. 90:
      The wants of a native living with his tribe and cultivating mealies or Kafir corn are confined to a kaross (skin cloak) or some pieces of cotton cloth.
    • 1992, Mark Owens & al., Cry of the Kalahari, →ISBN:
      “Our bedroom had a sweeping view of the water and clean sheets and towels had been laid out for us on a kaross of jackal pelts.”
    • 1996, E Hausen, Human History at the Crossroads: Where Do We Go from Here?, →ISBN:
      “For the first two years, of life a baby was carried in a carrier, lined with absorbent grass, inside her kaross, (a treated animal skin made into a cape...)”