Share this entry

Share this page


Line breaks: mzungu
Pronunciation: /(ə)mˈzʊnɡʊ

Definition of mzungu in English:


(In East Africa) a white person: there was a mzungu just off the Nyeri Road who was a teacher
More example sentences
  • During the cutbacks there was resentment towards the mzungus, or whites.
  • They then pat each other on the back for coming up with such a clever thing to say to a mzungu.
  • Speaking French has contradictory connotations, depending on the context: It is a sign of education in administrative circles but is offensive at the village level, where ‘acting like a mzungu’ is considered a sign of a bad attitude.


Swahili, from m- class prefix + -zungu 'European'.

Share this entry

Share this page


What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

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

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

More on mzungu

Nearby words

Word of the day chef-d'œuvre
Pronunciation: ʃeɪ ˈdəːvr(ə)
a masterpiece