Definition of Nilotic in English:



  • 1Relating to the River Nile or to the Nile region of Africa.

    • ‘Lastly, the unequal representation of Cushitic or Nilotic artists and their cultures cannot be dismissed.’
    • ‘The central subject of the more authentic mosaic in S. Maria Maggiore is the more recently introduced Coronation of the Virgin, but the acanthus scrolls that surround it and the Nilotic frieze below again show early Christian origins.’
    • ‘The nonspecialist reader would hardly realize, for example, that the supposed connection between Cleopatra and the great Nilotic mosaic at Palestrina is a conjecture with which most scholars would disagree.’
    • ‘Within the African clade, a wide-ranging tropical savannah species, B. pfeifferi, and a Nilotic species complex, have both colonized Rift Valley lakes and produced endemic lacustrine forms.’
  • 2Denoting or belonging to a family of languages spoken in Egypt, Sudan, South Sudan, Kenya, and Tanzania. The western group includes Luo and Dinka; the eastern group includes Masai and Turkana.

    • ‘There are more than one hundred different indigenous languages spoken in Sudan, including Nubian, Ta Bedawie, and dialects of Nilotic and Nilo-Hamitic languages.’
    • ‘The linguists would argue that these were Nilotic language speakers, and that they were immediate neighbours of another language group known as East Saheliens.’
    • ‘However, some contrary evidence is provided by the failure of the Nilotic language Nuer to become more popular.’
    • ‘Linguists classify Dinka as a major language family in the Nilotic category of African languages.’
    • ‘The largest Nilotic populations in Uganda are the Iteso and Karamojong ethnic groups, who speak Eastern Nilotic languages, and the Acholi, Langi, and Alur, who speak Western Nilotic languages.’


Via Latin from Greek Neilōtikos, from Neilos ‘Nile’.