Definition of tsotsi in English:


Line breaks: tsotsi
Pronunciation: /ˈtsɒtsi

noun (plural tsotsis)

South African
  • 1A young black urban criminal.
    More example sentences
    • He approached several black policemen (who were unarmed until the 1980s) who, when they spotted the tsotsis, starting running.
    • Some writers describe situations where paranoid fears of crime and violence are dissolved by friendly warmth and wry smiles of supposed tsotsis instead.
    • He remembers walking in downtown Joburg when, turning around, he noticed he was being followed by some tsotsis.
  • 1.1 historical A young black gangster belonging to a group prominent in the 1940s and 1950s, affecting a special language and flashy dress.


said to be a Sotho corruption of zoot suit.

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Pronunciation: ˌkɒlərəˈtjʊərə
elaborate ornamentation of a vocal melody