Definition of Masai in English:


(also Maasai)


  • 1A member of a pastoral people living in Tanzania and Kenya.

    • ‘The assistant guide was a happily married Masai in his late thirties.’
    • ‘Clearly, for many Maasai, cultivation has played an increasingly important role in subsistence and nutrition.’
    • ‘What happened to those Masai who wanted to give us cows?’
    • ‘This may be partly due to the fact that Maasai and Kikuyu speak different languages.’
    • ‘By the 1950s, he says, some Maasai had begun to hire outsiders to grow and tend small plots for them, and some were contemplating taking up cultivation themselves.’
    • ‘The traditional inhabitants of the region, the nomadic, cattle-herding Maasai, have lived alongside elephants for centuries.’
    • ‘But few Maasai benefited from the early privatization, nor did they keep their animals from grazing on the private ranches.’
    • ‘Becoming a moran is a central coming-of-age rite for young Maasai who go through the process in age sets or groups of fellow initiates from 15 to as old as 25.’
    • ‘For his generation that was born in Kenya with its mixture of Kikuyus and whites, Indians and Masais, the memories are of the magical years of school and friendships and the lurking fear of violence that was never far away.’
    • ‘I believe two issues are of importance here; the first is the need for cash, and the second is the reproduction of the pastoral identity of the Maasai.’
    • ‘A 30-year-old Masai, says she suffered 13 years of abuse before deciding to defy tradition and take her husband to court.’
    • ‘There are a large number of strong and influential ethnic groupings in Kenya including the Kikuyu, Luo, Kelanjin, Samburu and the Masai.’
    • ‘He said that with more education, and more meetings, greater numbers of Maasai could be made aware of the risks, and the situation would not necessarily get ‘out of control’.’
    • ‘One concern is that agriculture will spread uncontrollably, but the maintenance of livestock as the core of a diversified economy may also limit the extent to which Maasai engage in farming.’
    • ‘Approximately 300,000 to 400,000 Maasai live a seminomadic way of life as they follow the seasons in search of grass and water for their cattle herds.’
    • ‘However, given their economic circumstances, many Maasai may not have surpluses to sell.’
    • ‘The Maasai are speakers of the Maa language, which is also spoken by the Samburu and the Chamus living in central Kenya.’
    • ‘A number of Maasai and Samburu have taken jobs as park rangers and safari guides.’
    • ‘The Masai in eastern Africa have raised cattle for centuries.’
    • ‘The typical characteristic of these people is their natural, upright gait and it is widely documented that back and joint pain is unknown to the Masai.’
  • 2The Nilotic language of the Masai.

    • ‘We would sing in the evening, if not dance, we cooked much Maasai food, we grazed cows and goats to make Maasai tea, and of course, we spoke Maasai.’
    • ‘This consisted of carefully organized caravans whose leaders spoke Masai and had developed wide contacts among this otherwise hostile people.’
    • ‘He had arranged for a 14-day tented safari with an outfitter that advertised small groups, reasonable prices and a well-known British guide who had lived in Kenya since he was a child and spoke Masai like a native.’
    • ‘Most of the students, she said, spoke Maasai, their native language, as well as Swahili, the language that primary school is taught in.’
    • ‘I entered and started talking to the owner of the town's only little restaurant in English to discover, to my delight, that he only spoke Masai and Kiswahili.’


  • Relating to the Masai or their language.

    • ‘Visitors can accompany their Masai hosts on game drives to see hyenas, leopards, lions, and waterbuck.’
    • ‘Glass beads on Maasai necklaces are strung onto thin commercial wire.’
    • ‘This money could be used, for example, to train Maasai guides and teach them English language skills.’
    • ‘And miles away from the hospital is this tiny Masai settlement.’
    • ‘This, we are told, is the gait of the Masai people, renowned for walking great distances as they move their herds of cattle across the savannas of Kenya and Tanzania.’
    • ‘He borrowed the name for his product from the Kenyan Masai people.’
    • ‘Karl was interested in the Masai tribes; despite their height they rarely suffered from back problems.’
    • ‘When the group arrived in the Masai area they camped out for the first four nights surrounded by lions, elephants and wildebeest.’
    • ‘It is a way not only to see animals but to meet the Maasai peoples and learn about the culture.’
    • ‘By day, follow expert Masai guides on foot to spot lions, cheetahs, and wildebeests without disturbing their habitats.’
    • ‘She said the Masai people were in great need of language education.’
    • ‘Classroom lessons are taught in English, not in the Maasai language.’
    • ‘The two pointed triangles are a common feature of Maasai beadwork.’
    • ‘Appropriately named ‘endless plains’ by the Maasai people, it features short and long grass plains, acacia savanna and woodland in parts of the north and east.’
    • ‘Known for their warrior skills and semi - nomadic ways, the Masai life revolves around livestock, moving with the seasons.’
    • ‘These Masai warriors had never seen a sparkler before.’
    • ‘Before she left, she was given an array of presents from former students, including an ebony carving of a Masai family.’
    • ‘However, most Maasai males in the southwestern region of arid plains spend their youth moving with family cattle herds from watering hole to watering hole - a lifestyle that leaves little time for school.’
    • ‘The Masai warrior tribe are semi - nomadic and live on the border of Kenya and Tanzania.’
    • ‘Coloured cloths depicting the traditional Masai way of life are used to demonstrate how infection can be passed on, while a system of coloured beads is used to record the result of eye examinations.’