Definition of Khoisan in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈkoisän/


1 [usually treated as plural] A collective term for the Khoikhoi (Hottentot) and San (Bushmen) peoples of southern Africa.
Example sentences
  • In southern Africa, the Khoisan were pushed all the way to the southern tip of the continent.
  • The first inhabitants of Mozambique were hunters and gatherers, ancestors of the Khoisan now found in South Africa, Botswana, and Namibia.
  • The Bushmen, or Khoisan, or hunter-gatherer Khoi, were a physically similar but culturally distinct people who lived contiguously with the Khoikhoi.
2A language family of southern Africa, including the languages of the Khoikhoi and San, notable for the use of clicks as consonants.
Example sentences
  • Bantu, Khoisan, and Indo-European languages are spoken in Botswana.


Relating to the Khoisan or their languages.
Example sentences
  • Members of the Khoisan language groups are the oldest surviving inhabitants of the land, but only a few are left in South Africa today - and they are located in the western sections.
  • However, the policy also promotes the use and development of sign language and ‘heritage languages’ such as Khoisan and Indian languages.
  • Essentially I am trying to represent her story through living people - people who reflect her and her spirit, such as contemporary Khoisan people.


Blend of Khoikhoi and San.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: Khoi·san

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