Definition of Akan in English:



  • 1A member of a people inhabiting southern Ghana and adjacent parts of Côte d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast).

    • ‘The major ethnic groups of Ghana are the Akan, Ewe, Guan, Mole-Dagbane, and Ga-Adangbe.’
    • ‘Among the Akan, towns and villages are comprised of distinct wards in which matrilineal descendants of the same ancestress reside.’
    • ‘These are exquisite, filigreed jewels reminiscent of the gold jewellery of the Akan of Ghana, or of what has survived of the Aztec gold.’
    • ‘As the European trade in the 1800s introduced the Akan to synthetically dyed yarns, kente designs became more colorful.’
    • ‘Aversion to risk, he says, may run deep in the Akan, the country's dominant ethnic grouping.’
    • ‘The keyhole that frames it suggests the lock-and-key motif of Victorian jewelry that also became a symbol of love and commitment among the Akan.’
    • ‘Among the Akan, when there is a death in a village, all villagers shave their heads.’
    • ‘Among the Akan of Ghana, a child remains within the spirit world until this period is over and it becomes a human being, recognized by its father.’
    • ‘The Akan have more than 3,600 proverbs, and many of the proverbs are represented in the visual arts.’
    • ‘Mother Earth holds great reverence for the Akan; nature is believed to be a living thing.’
    • ‘Clips of the menson flute ensemble of the Akan of Ghana, or of Kasena flute ensemble, both of which play in hocket, could have been enlisted to strengthen the West African musical examples in this section.’
  • 2mass noun The language of the Akan, belonging to the Kwa group and having over 4 million speakers. Its main dialects are Ashanti and Fante.

    Also called Twi
    • ‘In those poems he captures so completely the familiar ritual cadences of Akan.’
    • ‘The total sample size was 1,553, and the majority were Akan speakers interviewed in Akan.’
    • ‘These anecdotal observations are in line with Peil's findings that Ghanaian emigrants are more likely to be from southern Ghana where Akan is widely spoken.’
    • ‘Arriving at the international airport in Accra, travelers may observe colorful billboards with the word Akwaba, or ‘welcome’ in Akan, written in bold letters.’
    • ‘This group includes such major languages as Akan, Ga-Adangbe, and Ewe.’
    • ‘In fact, one elder told me that he has never met a single Ghanaian in the United States who did not speak Akan.’
    • ‘In the African language of Akan, the word ‘sankofa’ means to revisit the past in order to face the future.’
    • ‘Examples for Akan can be found here, including sound files and x-ray tracings.’


  • Relating to the Akan or their language.

    • ‘Since a number of Akan terracottas depict a deceased royal smoking a pipe, it was probably a missed opportunity that one of these was not selected instead.’
    • ‘One hilt represents one of the most familiar and influential images in all of Akan art, the so-called sankofa bird, whose head is turned toward its back.’
    • ‘These were tourist stamps that celebrated Akan royalty.’
    • ‘These holdings encompass virtually the whole spectrum of Akan gold regalia and related forms and include many unusual if not unique works.’
    • ‘Janus-faced human heads are rare in Akan terracotta sculpture; thus far, only one other example has been published.’
    • ‘Frances Marzio has surveyed the wealth of styles and motifs from the Masonic to the astrological and the marital to the funereal, and her study has implications concerning the source of many widespread Akan images.’
    • ‘Daniel Mato's examination of Akan coiffures extended the study of hairstyles back in time through terracotta memorial figures, documenting the changes and consistencies in these styles.’
    • ‘According to church leaders, all the members who were not part of the Akan language group learned to speak it as a result of spending time in Accra and other southern areas, where it is widely spoken, before coming to the United States.’


The name in Akan.