Definition of township in English:



  • 1(in South Africa) a suburb or city of predominantly black occupation, formerly officially designated for black occupation by apartheid legislation.

    ‘a Johannesburg township’
    as modifier ‘township theatre’
    • ‘The City of Johannesburg is set to embark on a major drive to put up and repair lights on major roads and in streets of the suburbs, townships and informal settlements of the city.’
    • ‘Instead, the accounts of life in the black townships of South Africa resonate with his descriptions of Robben Island as a place that intensifies the degradation and violence of apartheid.’
    • ‘Currently, the Saunderses support more than 300 orphans in several shanty townships dotted around the city of Lusaka.’
    • ‘In the world of dance, one of South Africa's toughest townships may seem an unpromising place to start an academy for classical ballet.’
    • ‘Mandela came of age politically in a mass movement based in the dusty streets of South Africa's townships, before finding himself forced underground and eventually jailed.’
    • ‘The site is close to Khayelitsha, a township of 500,000 black South Africans who suffered under apartheid and still live in poverty, with a 90 per cent unemployment rate.’
    • ‘The destruction of homes caused by incessant rains in many of the squatter townships that litter our cities has now become an annual event.’
    • ‘It's reflected in the privatization that's happening to the people in the townships in South Africa, and in what's going on in the streets of Toronto and Halifax.’
    • ‘And in this post-apartheid era you would soon be either dead or very sorry for yourself if you tried to do in any black South African township what Leon and I did in 1979.’
    • ‘This hip hop act are from South Africa and will be bringing listeners the raw and rhythmic sounds of hip hop from the townships and cities of South Africa.’
    • ‘Some are in townships and inner city suburbs where banks have been reluctant to lend to potential buyers.’
    • ‘Boxing is a rough trade and South Africa's crime-ridden townships and inner cities are rough places, with widespread poverty and glaring disparities of income.’
    • ‘The farm worker is forced to take refuge in a shack settlement in a black township and pick up the threads of his disrupted life as best he can.’
    • ‘The tour included visiting newly-elected members of the African National Congress and black townships.’
    • ‘The city was run by a white council, the black township was run by the government, the Department of Bantu Administration.’
    • ‘Schonberg started the township ballet class during South Africa's racist apartheid days after some dinner party guess set him off.’
    • ‘As I was first working on this lecture, I went to a theatre in London, which was showing a play acted by black actors about life years ago in the townships of South Africa.’
    • ‘That's where many young men in some of South Africa's poor townships are headed these days.’
    • ‘For the last two years he has spent two weeks in the summer in some of the poorest townships in South Africa, playing rugby and telling the kids about his faith.’
    • ‘Gaza and the West Bank have become the Middle East's version of the South African townships during the apartheid regime.’
  • 2South African A new area being developed for residential or industrial use by speculators.

    • ‘It's a circuit train that services the townships and the western industrial areas of Johannesburg.’
    • ‘Burma road was the street that connected not only Kabwata but also all other residential areas to other locations or townships on the route.’
    • ‘Stanbic Bank Zambia has embarked on an expansion programme that will see the opening of new outlets in Matero township and Kabulonga residential areas before going to other parts of the country.’
    • ‘The centre is on a one-hectare site on the main road to the Berlin industrial and residential townships.’
    • ‘An area surrounding Rosh Pinah has been de-proclaimed to allow for the development of the Roshkor township.’
    • ‘Kheny said that so much of land was required not only for the roads but also for the five townships that will come up which will include corporate, commercial, heritage, industrial and eco-tourism townships.’
    • ‘He said redeployment, which saw teachers moved from schools with low teacher-pupil ratios, often to townships or rural areas, had ended in eight of the nine provinces.’
    • ‘What residents of the two townships hope to do is showcase their hospitality.’
    • ‘Angry residents from the surrounding townships, some of whom arrived in the early hours of the morning, went home disappointed and empty-handed.’
    • ‘Although the area is quite rural, local residents feared the township, which grew by 35 percent in the last decade, was ripe for development.’
    • ‘Before dawn, protesters set roadblocks of rocks and debris to prevent residents of the neighbouring Mabvuku and Tafara townships from travelling to work, witnesses said.’
    • ‘The court heard that Mr Musonda used to park the motor vehicle at Changa Namai Trading area in Kwacha township for advertising.’
    • ‘This swimming pool is the first of its kind in a developing township.’
    • ‘Thanks to the Zambia Social Investment Fund, residents of the two townships are now happy because their dream has become a reality.’
    • ‘The idea hit Goodrich last year after he saw how the many schools in the townships and rural areas where he delivered his second-hand furniture suffered from a lack of computer equipment.’
    • ‘The difficulty so far has been reaching schools in the townships and rural areas.’
    • ‘On the other hand, schools in townships say they have lots of room.’
    • ‘In an effort to contribute to community development in the two townships, the NGO has taken up the challenge to improve the livelihood of its people.’
    • ‘Officers-in-charge of residential townships where the associations are formed are involved in the training of members of the community who join the associations.’
    • ‘Much of this money will go towards developing parks in townships such as Diepkloof, Mofolo, Klipspruit, and in informal settlements such as Diepsloot and Orange Farm.’
  • 3North American A division of a county with some corporate powers.

    • ‘It's not just this town itself, but the whole of this county, this township that weaves all of us together like a blended family.’
    • ‘The generally accepted figure for our total tax load from townships, counties, states and the federals is 33 percent of GDP.’
    • ‘For example, when writing a place, use township, county or province, country or state.’
    • ‘So Rawal, an engineer, served on the township's library board, helping Butler County automate and electronically link its seven largest libraries.’
    • ‘In more than one county and township there's a law on the books to deal with riding in a horse-drawn buggy while intoxicated.’
    • ‘What matters is that we continue to make the world a little better place - here in our homes, on our blocks, in our communities, across the township, across the county.’
    • ‘Young families are moving toward the east and south of the township, away from the Allegheny County line, an analysis of U.S. Census figures indicates.’
    • ‘In Warren County there were six entire townships where voter registration increased by 28% to 79%.’
    • ‘We control for unobserved heterogeneity across townships using a set of dummy variables representing the 15 townships in the county.’
    • ‘North and South Fayette townships in Allegheny County posted population gains of 28 percent and 19 percent, respectively.’
    • ‘The letter confirmed their discussions with respect to a transfer of the franchise ownership from Bruce County to a group of townships in Huron County.’
    • ‘The localities are arranged alphabetically by county and then by township within each county.’
    • ‘Counties, boroughs and townships were imported from England.’
    • ‘Pooling efforts is a growing practice among Pennsylvania boroughs, townships and even school districts.’
    • ‘In southwestern Pennsylvania, four rural townships in Somerset, Indiana and Greene counties are hosts to new prisons built within the last few years.’
    • ‘There are Democrats in every rural township and county - young and old alike.’
    • ‘This USDA publication contains a list of these counties, municipalities and townships.’
    • ‘So, you start building the necessary network of transportation, of water management, of power distribution, of creating new townships which are centers to service these farmers.’
    • ‘The Legislature must uphold the current rights of townships and counties to enact zoning ordinances that regulate development in their communities, including large feedlots.’
    • ‘Since then, many counties and townships have switched to an electronic system eager to prevent future problems.’
    1. 3.1 A district six miles square.
      • ‘Elsewhere the pattern reflects the rectilinear network of roads, which in turn derives from the early surveys of the territory based on uniform square townships six miles on a side.’
      • ‘By the end of the nineteenth century, most of the continent had been squared off into townships, and sections.’
      borough, town, city, district, administrative division
      View synonyms
  • 4British historical A manor or parish as a territorial division.

    1. 4.1 A small town or village forming part of a large parish.
      • ‘Plans to close community beat offices in the townships have been heavily criticised by Pennine councillors.’
      • ‘Another plan to release plots of land to build a new community in the once-thriving crofting township of Stoul, on Loch Nevis, was vetoed by the Mackays.’
      • ‘He then became an assistant organiser in a village and township.’
      • ‘A number of the signs have cropped up around the township and town council Chairman John Brodwell has condemned the advertisers.’
      • ‘That is something which has been recognised by church leaders and councillors in Queensbury who are campaigning to be allowed to join the growing number of villages and townships in the Bradford district which have a parish council.’
      • ‘A 14th century manor house situated in Samlesbury, a small township on the south bank of the River Ribble, Samlesbury Hall is well worth a visit if only for its historical interest.’
      urban area, conurbation, municipality, borough, settlement
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  • 5NZ Australian A small town.

    • ‘As the line did not run through or near the Edeowie township the Government decided to survey new towns at Edeowie and Parachilna.’
    • ‘By the turn of the 20th century most of the smaller townships in the province had their own papers.’
    • ‘The experiments were conducted at Boes Rd located on the outskirts of the Hastings township in Mornington Peninsula Shire, Victoria.’
    • ‘The town of Gladstone originally started as two townships.’
    • ‘‘From the air, Tac Town looks like a township and the different buildings simulate different roles,’ he explained.’
    • ‘After their inspection of the mine and town, Goyder promised that a township would be surveyed without delay.’
    • ‘There is no township of Greta; it is a farming district that is occasionally referred to as Kelly Country because it was the home of Ned Kelly.’


Old English tūnscipe ‘the inhabitants of a village’ (see town, -ship).