Share this entry
donga Line breaks: donga
Pronunciation: /ˈdɒŋɡə/

Definition of donga in English:


1South African & Australian /NZ A dry gully, formed by the eroding action of running water.
Example sentences
  • For decades too it had no storm water drainage, resulting in potholes and dongas opening up.
  • According to a report tabled by the provincial standing committee on public works - which toured the province in June to assess roads and infrastructure - bridges are collapsing and dongas are developing.
  • Some people have even requested that the traffic department not issue fines for unroadworthy vehicles because their cars had been damaged by dongas in the roads…
2Australian A temporary, usually transportable, dwelling.
Example sentences
  • Sometimes when we talked they would use a new or unfamiliar word: they might say that they had gone out to the apple for a few days, or that they were sharing their donga with three other people.
  • The local Aboriginal workers - most of whom have never had a job before - live in the same dongas and eat in the same mess as all other employees.
  • She had to get up at 3.30 am one morning to cook breakfast for 80 or 90 miners who were living out in dongas out the back.
3Australian The bush; the remote countryside.


sense 1 from Xhosa and Zulu udonga; sense 2 is said to stem from an extended usage of the term in the Boer War.

Words that rhyme with donga

conga, conger, Rarotonga
Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources