Definition of Motu in English:



  • 1A member of a Melanesian people of Papua New Guinea inhabiting the area around Port Moresby.

    • ‘The battle was to avenge the death of Kevau Dagora's father, who died in a massacre by the Lakwaharn at Taurama, the ancestral village of the Western Motu.’
    • ‘Maintaining the distinctiveness of their culture in the face of urbanization and modernization is a challenge for the present-day Motu.’
    • ‘Some Motu also speak Tok Pisin (an English-based pidgin language) and English.’
    • ‘The Hula and the Motu are only two of many Melanesian societies that have been Christianised for more than a century and we have seen here the problematic engagement of Christianity in the matters of history and tradition.’
    • ‘The Motu inhabit a region which now includes the capital city, Port Moresby, and the Hula live about 110 kilometres to the east.’
  • 2mass noun The language of the Motu, the base of a pidgin known as Hiri Motu or (formerly) Police Motu, widely used as a lingua franca for administrative purposes.


  • Relating to the Motu or their language.

    • ‘Nor are generalities about the engagement with Christianity within one or the other group, as individual Motu and Hula villages have unique histories.’
    • ‘For example, adult Pari villagers politicise language, like most other Motu villages.’
    • ‘Although it is identified as a Motu village, it contains a significant number of Koitabu people.’
    • ‘The Christian Gospels were translated into the Motu language by 1885.’
    • ‘The choice of language for Motu greetings is the most important aspect of an interaction.’
    • ‘Christianity is unreflectively experienced as part of the village's identity, a resource defending Motu integrity against a threatening alien sociality.’


The name in Melanesian.