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Bantu

[ban-too] /ˈbæn tu/
noun, plural Bantus (especially collectively) Bantu.
1.
a member of any of several peoples forming a linguistically and in some respects culturally interrelated family in central and southern Africa.
2.
a grouping of more than 500 languages of central and southern Africa, as Kikuyu, Swahili, Tswana, and Zulu, all related within a subbranch of the Benue-Congo branch of the Niger-Kordofanian family.
adjective
3.
of, relating to, or characteristic of Bantu or the Bantu peoples.
Related forms
non-Bantu, noun, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for Bantu
Historical Examples
  • The people over whom he ruled seem to have been the Bantu tribe of the Makalanga in the neighbourhood of Sofala.

    Balder The Beautiful, Vol. I. Sir James George Frazer
  • As the Bantu vary in aspect, so do they also in intelligence.

  • It should be superfluous to say that the Bantu myth cannot possibly throw any tight on the real origin of totemism.

  • To the south of the Congo the various Bantu tribes are still little known.

    The Races of Man Joseph Deniker
  • But in most of the Bantu tribes this totem idea does not exist as a worship.

    Fetichism in West Africa Robert Hamill Nassau
  • The languages of the various Bantu tribes have strong affinities.

    Tales of South Africa H.A. Bryden
  • He found an abundance of ivory and some gold and heard that the inhabitants of Kilwa had gained victories over the Zenji or Bantu.

    The Negro W.E.B. Du Bois
  • This conception is, as far as I know, constant in both Negro and Bantu.

    West African studies Mary Henrietta Kingsley
  • The Bantu verb consists of a practically unchangeable root which is employed as the second person singular of the imperative.

  • The Bantu tribes were healthy and vigorous, but they were rarely at peace.

British Dictionary definitions for Bantu

Bantu

/ˈbɑːntʊ; ˈbæntuː; bænˈtuː/
noun
1.
a group of languages of Africa, including most of the principal languages spoken from the equator to the Cape of Good Hope, but excluding the Khoisan family: now generally regarded as part of the Benue-Congo branch of the Niger-Congo family
2.
(South African, taboo) (pl) -tu, -tus. a Black speaker of a Bantu language
adjective
3.
denoting, relating to, or belonging to this group of peoples or to any of their languages
Usage note
Use of the term Bantu is only acceptable outside South Africa and when talking about this group of languages and their speakers. To refer to African people or peoples, the terms Black and African are acceptable within South Africa
Word Origin
C19: from Bantu Ba-ntu people
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for Bantu

1862, applied to south African language group in the 1850s by German linguist Wilhelm Heinrich Immanuel Bleek (1827-1875), from native Ba-ntu "mankind," from ba-, plural prefix, + ntu "a man, person." Bantustan in a South African context is from 1949.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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