Definition of boubou in English:


(also boubou shrike)


  • 1An African bush shrike (songbird) with the upper parts mainly blackish in colour. It is noted for the duet of bell-like calls produced by the male and female together.

    Genus Laniarius, family Laniidae: several species, in particular the tropical boubou (L. aethiopicus) and the southern boubou (L. ferrugineus)

    Compare with brubru
    • ‘The heavy air vibrates with cooing of doves and the creaking-gate single note of the tropical boubou.’
    • ‘The best-known and best-studied duettists are certain African shrikes, notably the tropical boubou shrike Laniarius aethiopicus.’
  • 2A long, colourful, loose-fitting garment worn by both sexes in parts of Africa.

    • ‘Gardi has successfully proven that ‘a boubou is much more than a simple garment, it is a whole style’.’
    • ‘These range from classic styles to boubous inspired by the African Diaspora, such as ‘Grand Dakar’ or ‘Washington.’’
    • ‘In more traditional settings, people wear boubous, loose-fitting cotton tunics with large openings under the arms.’
    • ‘The west African embroidered boubou is becoming popular with both men and women.’
    • ‘For example, in highlighting Diula and Senufo boubous that have woven as opposed to embroidered motifs, he includes a photograph of the master weaver Fettege Daanyogo beside one of his boubous.’
    • ‘The catalogue includes information on the contributors, a bibliography, and a list of the seventeen lomasa boubous and the twenty-three mandingo boubous in museum collections.’
    • ‘Back in Dakar, though, off came the boubous and on came the Nikes.’
    • ‘Then of course there were a lot of the Americans who, whenever I would dress in African clothing - a kaftan, or chayas, or a boubou - would tease me.’
    • ‘On their US tour they'd wear boubous, traditional Senegalese dress.’
    • ‘The Cameroon Grasslands represent a cultural transition between west and central Africa, and the early use of boubous there is thought to result from a Hausa and Yoruba influence.’
    • ‘The image he himself cultivated during his presidency, and which appears in official portraits and on Malian currency of the period, always shows him wearing a Malian kaftan, or boubou.’
    • ‘He stresses the need for a wider view of west African boubou styles and their interrelationships.’
    • ‘To emphasize the wide range and variety of these garments, Gardi also illustrates boubous from the Guinea Coast, Fulani and Wodaabe boubous from Mali and Niger, and Bamana shirts embroidered by ‘Ghana Boys.’’
    • ‘Depending on the purpose of the boubou, it may be elaborately embroidered and could cost two to three hundred dollars.’
    • ‘Ceremonial occasions call for elaborate boubous.’
    • ‘It consists of draw-string trousers, a long-sleeved loose-fitting shirt with an open neck, and a boubou (long, full robe).’
    • ‘Traditional dress varies for men is the boubou (an ample, full-length tunic).’
    • ‘For formal occasions men and women may wear the grand boubou.’
    • ‘Both men's and women's boubous are open at the side, both for style and to allow air circulation in hot and humid climates.’
    • ‘Guineans have made an art form of boubous, garments which they slip over their heads and wear over matching pants.’


French: boubou (sense 1) probably imitative of its call; boubou (sense 2) from Malinke bubu.