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Bantu Syllabification: Ban·tu
Pronunciation: /ˈbanto͞o/

Definition of Bantu in English:


Relating to or denoting a group of Niger-Congo languages spoken in central and southern Africa, including Swahili, Xhosa, and Zulu.
Example sentences
  • The San people were also similarly displaced and reduced in numbers by the arrival of invading Bantu farmers (and later by white farmers) to the south a few centuries later.
  • He said that according to old Bantu law, virginity was sacred.
  • It's a land where Bantu roots and Islam have intertwined since the tenth century.

noun (plural same or Bantus)

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1A group of Niger-Congo languages spoken in central and southern Africa, including Swahili, Xhosa, and Zulu.
Example sentences
  • Kenya is a multilingual and multicultural nation, with 42 different languages spoken, including Bantu, Arabic, and Nilotic.
  • The Swahili language, a mixture of Bantu and Arabic, developed as a lingua franca for trade between the different peoples.
  • Swahili, which comes from the Arabic word meaning ‘coast,’ is a mix of Arabic and the African language Bantu.
2 offensive A member of an indigenous people of central and southern Africa that speaks a Bantu language.
Example sentences
  • The Bantus, particularly the Kikuyu, established a stronghold in Kenya's interior around Mount Kenya, largely as a result of their sophisticated tools and weapons.
  • Torture and war survivor counselor Sherif Amin, who is also Somali, says Somalis here will treat the Bantus with respect.
  • The arrival of the Bantus from the north about 1,600 years ago in Zambia changed the landscape from that of hunters/gatherers to that of farmers.


Mid 19th century: plural (in certain Bantu languages) of -ntu 'person'.


The word Bantu became a strongly offensive term under the apartheid regime in South Africa, especially when used to refer to a single individual. In standard current use in South Africa the term black or African is used as a collective or non-specific term for African peoples. The term Bantu has, however, continued to be accepted as a neutralscientific’ term outside South Africa used to refer to the group of languages and their speakers collectively.

Words that rhyme with Bantu


Definition of Bantu in:

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