gifblaar (gifˌblär)

Gifblaar is a poisonous plant that is fatal to cattle in Southern Africa. (Image from

Hello everyone! Today, I’ve chosen to post about an unusual word from Afrikaans.

Afrikaans is an Indo-European language and is specifically part of the West Germanic language tree. It is the official language of South Africa and Namibia and is spoken by millions of people. Afrikaans is descended from Dutch, therefore, these two languages have similar language patterns. It is interesting to note that people who speak Afrikaans can also understand Dutch.

The word gifblaar comes from the Afrikaans roots gif, meaning poison, and blaar meaning leaf. The English translation for this word is “poison leaf.” Gifblaar is a poisonous plant native to Southern Africa and is toxic to cattle, causing death within hours of ingestion.



  1. I am Afrikaans. A word, phrase or sentence in Dutch may mean one thing, but in Afrikaans a vaguely similar -sounding one may even mean the direct opposite. Also, Afrikaans contains much Khoisan and other African language influences and vocabulary. It is an indigenous African language, after all.

  2. Hi! I went to the National Spelling Bee back in 2015, and I remembered that the blogger here gave me a card that had to do with language learning. Unfortunately, I have since lost that card, but I recently took up German to help prepare for the 2016 National Spelling Bee (I never had the chance to go because our sponsor backed out right before the deadline passed, so we are working on getting a sponsor this year so that people from my area, central Illinois, can have a chance to go to the NSB). One thing led to another and I remembered the card that I lost. I remembered the card saying stuff about Latin, Ancient Greek, German, and Hindi, and after finding you in my beekeeper from 2015 I found this site. I was wondering if you could email me so that we could talk about linguistics and the like. I look forward to an email.

    • Hi Dylan! Thanks for your comment. I handed out cards at the 2015 National Spelling Bee and I’m glad that you were able to find my site. I am sorry that you lost your sponsor and didn’t have a chance to go back to the 2016 NSB. Sponsorship in Louisville has also been unstable over the years. This is my fifth year studying Latin and in the past I’ve studied Ancient Greek, German, and Hindi. I will e-mail you soon so that we can keep in touch.

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