Definition of Nyanja in English:



  • 1A member of a people of Malawi and eastern and central Zambia.

    • ‘In fact, out of the 9.1m people of that country, it is estimated that 36% are Bemba, 18% Nyanja, 15% Tonga, 8% Barotze, and the remainder consisting of the other ethnic groups.’
    • ‘The main ethnic groups here are the Nyanja and the Nyeuegwe and the Sena.’
    • ‘For example, a Bemba may throw verbal abuses to a Nyanja, but this is done in jest for the most part.’
  • 2mass noun The Bantu language of the Nyanja, with over 3 million speakers.

    • ‘He often sings in traditional Zambian languages such as Nyanja and Bemba.’
    • ‘Laced with mostly traditional songs from Northern, Eastern and Western Provinces, the album is in four languages, which include Lozi, Bemba, Nyanja and Bisa.’
    • ‘The main vernacular languages are Bemba, Lozi, Luanda, Luvale, Nyanja, Tonga, and Tumbuka.’
    • ‘Bemba is the next most commonly spoken language, followed by Nyanja.’
    • ‘In the north, the Bantu languages of Yao and Makua predominate; in the Zambezi Valley, Nyanja is the dominant language; and in the south, Tsonga is spoken.’


  • Relating to the Nyanja or their language.

    • ‘A local Nyanja proverb asserts that a true friend is one who comes to your aid when you are confronted by insurmountable problems.’
    • ‘Clarke wrote a column in which he referred to the person in charge of a game park as a ‘Mawelewele’ - or ‘fool’ in the local Nyanja dialect.’
    • ‘Among the major ethnic groups are Chewa, Nyanja, Tumbuko, Yao, Lomwe, Sena, Tonga, Ngoni, Ngonde, Asians, and Europeans.’
    • ‘Kabwe said the comedy, which runs for 75 minutes, also features other famous Zambian comedians including Calistus Malunga known to this world as Flash Mwale in the Nyanja radio programme Sewelo.’
    • ‘Surrounded by the traditional music of his extended family - Nyanja as well as Shangaan - Baloi spent his earliest years exploring sounds with the aid of discarded paraffin tins, reeds and anything he could lay his hands on.’


A local name, literally ‘lake’.