Definition of Sinhalese in English:


(also Sinhala, Singhalese)


  • 1A member of a people originally from northern India, now forming the majority of the population of Sri Lanka.

    • ‘The east is also inhabited by Tamils and Sinhalese and is often called a ‘time bomb’ by political analysts because of the potential it holds for outbursts of ethnic violence.’
    • ‘When violence erupted between Tamils and Sinhalese, the family fled to the U.S.’
    • ‘I went to school with Tamils, Sinhalese and members of the Burgher community.’
    • ‘It involved both Tamils and Sinhalese, health employees from diverse occupations and workers from other sectors, including the banks, railways and the press, who showed their solidarity by participating.’
    • ‘The population of Trincomalee is divided into roughly equal numbers of Sinhalese and Tamils with a significant Muslim population.’
    • ‘The majority of the Tamils live among the Sinhalese in the south.’
    • ‘He points out that Buddhist thinkers threw their support behind Japan's militarist government in the 1930s and supported the Sinhalese in their violent civil war with the Tamils in Sri Lanka.’
    • ‘These are Sinhalese but also Tamils, Burghers and Muslims.’
    • ‘The classes were conducted for Tamils and Sinhalese separately.’
    • ‘Tamil separatists in northern areas around Jaffna are engaged in armed rebellion against the government, which is controlled by the Sinhalese.’
    • ‘In Sri Lanka, war rages again on the Jaffna Peninsula while international peace-making efforts to unite Tamils and Sinhalese are spurned.’
    • ‘The north and east of Sri Lanka also include sizeable communities of Sinhalese and Muslims.’
    • ‘So did Sinhalese and Tamils, Nepalese, Taiwanese, the Balkan people and Africans.’
    • ‘The Sinhalese and Tamils celebrate their new year on April 14.’
    • ‘I am sure the working class of Sri Lanka, Tamils and Sinhalese alike, will reject this perspective.’
    • ‘Since the 1983 initiation of all-out war between the Singhalese and Tamils, Canada has been especially accommodating to Sri Lankan refugees and now hosts some 250,000 Tamils.’
    • ‘Sixteen of them were Sinhalese, while others were Muslims and Tamils.’
    • ‘As a doctor, I don't see any difference between Tamils and Sinhalese.’
    • ‘The Tigers are reportedly seeking an interim council to administer the northeast of the country before a peace deal is reached, made up of Tamils, Sinhalese and Muslims.’
    • ‘If the Sinhalese cannot get together to express their ideas how can Tamils and Sinhalese get together?’
  • 2[mass noun] An Indic language spoken by the Sinhalese, descended from Sanskrit. It has about 13 million speakers.

    • ‘He was arrested on January 27 and was tortured and forced to sign a statement in Sinhalese, a language he does not understand.’
    • ‘The dual flairs of engineering and language were by now very evident, with Thai, English, Japanese and Singhalese mastered as well as the various engineering disciplines and experience.’
    • ‘There are three official languages in Sri Lanka: Sinhala, Tamil, and English.’
    • ‘I lived most of my life with her and she spoke Sinhalese with me.’
    • ‘The first name is Sinhalese, the second Tamil and the third Christian.’
    • ‘Some of the important films in Urdu, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Bangla, Nepali, Sinhalese etc., will be shown in this festival.’
    • ‘It is not reasonable to ask him to go there because he has no family, friends, work, source of income or shelter in Colombo and does not speak the dominant language, Sinhalese.’
    • ‘The shop has also stocked more than 5,000 regular ringtones in seven languages including Tamil and Sinhalese and 4,000 logos.’
    • ‘The constitution affirmed Sinhalese as the state language and Buddhism as the state religion.’
    • ‘He abolished his predecessor's discrimination against the Tamils, for example by introducing Tamil as an official language next to Sinhalese.’
    • ‘Instead, Pali has relied heavily on oral transmission and has traditionally been transcribed in Devanagari, Singhalese, Thai, and Roman scripts.’
    • ‘The bus destination was written only in Sinhalese, and Rajkumar, like many Tamils, is unable to read that language.’
    • ‘The only evidence against them are confessions extracted under torture and written in Sinhalese - a language none of them read or write.’
    • ‘Rutnam, who began his career as a props assistant for David Lean when the famous director shot ‘The Bridge on the River Kwai’ in Sri Lanka in 1956, has also made his own films, in Sinhalese.’
    • ‘As he poured the warm leafy water over my head he gave me a lesson in Sinhalese, sometimes called the language of flower petals.’
    • ‘He took her to watch Sinhala-language theater, even though his own Sinhala was not sharp.’
    • ‘I learnt Singhalese, was bitten by a scorpion and met the Queen at a garden party held at the British High Commission in Colombo.’
    • ‘Special kinship terminology exists in both Tamil and Sinhalese for relatives in preferred or prohibited marriage categories.’
    • ‘He also had the Dhammasaga, the first book of the Abhidharma, translated into Sinhalese, but the translation has since been lost.’
    • ‘The Dhivehi language is derived from Persian and Sinhalese, with elements of Sanskrit from India.’


  • Relating to the Sinhalese or their language.

    • ‘Born in 1943, he is the youngest of four children in a family of Indian, Sinhalese, Dutch and English descent.’
    • ‘The first press reports claimed that a crowd of local Sinhala villagers, incensed at a protest by detainees, had spontaneously invaded the centre and carried out the murders.’
    • ‘Among Sinhala extremists, such allegations - the renunciation of Buddhism, its precepts of abstinence, and the native Sinhalese language - amount to charges of treason.’
    • ‘Relief and emergency supplies have arrived in Colombo, Sri Lanka, but authorities are experiencing problems in distribution due to an ongoing civil conflict between Sinhalese and Tamil groups.’
    • ‘As a registered party, the SEP was allocated 15 minutes on state-run television and radio to present its program in the Tamil and Sinhala languages.’
    • ‘Colombo obviously had an eye on the enormous tourist potential of a Sita temple, but diehard Sinhala groups opposed the Government gifting forestland for a Hindu temple.’
    • ‘The root cause of the ethnic conflict, Prabhakaran said, is the ‘oppressive policy of Sinhala politicians.’’
    • ‘The pristine Sinharaja Forest, Sinhagiriya and the Sinhala race all derive from sinha, the lion.’
    • ‘The principal medium of activity in the Vihara is the Sinhala language.’
    • ‘A duly certified English translation of Fernando's Sinhala statement will be made available to all those countries and Executive concerned.’
    • ‘However, to Sinhala extremists, including many in the Buddhist hierarchy, any talk of even limited autonomy for the country's Tamil minority is tantamount to treason.’
    • ‘Among us there were also some Sinhala detainees.’
    • ‘The movie revolves around the bridging of the gulf between the Sinhala and the Tamil population.’
    • ‘The power of the English language in this era is indicated by the fact that Sinhala speakers subject to its force referred to it in the 1960s as the kaduva, or sword.’
    • ‘The pogrom was the reaction of the Sinhala ruling elite to a deepening economic and social crisis.’
    • ‘Sri Lanka is a country that boasts of 23 centuries of well-recorded and documented history, where Sinhala kings reigned for nearly 2,300 years.’
    • ‘Certainly, the lion figures in Sinhala folklore whereas the tiger doesn't.’
    • ‘This is ‘a burning question… exploding within the hearts of Sinhala students, parents and teachers,’ it stated.’
    • ‘He displayed a copy of the Sinhala language publication of the World Socialist Web Site.’
    • ‘He recalled Chennai's immense contribution to the initial growth and development of Sinhala cinema.’


From Sanskrit Siṅhala Sri Lanka + -ese.