Definition of kente in English:



  • 1A brightly colored, banded material made in Ghana.

    • ‘Textiles are well developed, especially handwoven kente, and stamped adinkra cloths.’
    • ‘African American couples want their big day to reflect their heritage and incorporate discreet Afrocentric touches, such as a broom jumping ceremony, libation or tuxedos with kente cloth accents.’
    • ‘The men wear hand woven kente cloths draped over the left shoulder, with a ready-made short sleeved shirt underneath.’
    • ‘Wearing a red dress, hot pink headwrap, kente cloth, a silk fringed shawl, and an armful of bangles, she is fully sexual, a celebration of African American womanhood.’
    • ‘Most contemporary kente cloths reflect the ongoing experimentation with colors.’
    • ‘For Asante royalty and Ewe chiefs, for members of Asafo military companies and keepers of village shrines, and for tourists and African American artists, kente communicates ideas about identity and community.’
    • ‘But several weeks later, after he sent out a large shipment of Ghanaian kente cloth, the recipient refused to pay.’
    • ‘In the opening pages of his introduction, Ross alludes to the separate paths kente has taken in Ewe and Asante communities as he discusses the cloth's name itself.’
    • ‘Busia, a poet and daughter of former Ghanaian Prime Minister Dr. K. A. Busia, relates the stories of three kente cloths in her collection.’
    • ‘Many African Americans decorate their high school and college graduation robes with scarves of kente cloth produced by Asante weavers.’
    • ‘For the Asante, the people most closely associated with kente, the cloth shifts from being a marker of class and regional origins to serving as ritual costume, nationalist statement, and marketing device.’
    • ‘Artists and objects travel between worlds, travel whose earliest documentation may be found in the affinities between African American quilting traditions and west African strip-woven cloth such as kente.’
    • ‘The variety of kente cloth that adorns every outfit he wears is legendary.’
    • ‘The conspicuous display of kente testifies to the widespread use and symbolism of this textile, once the ‘exclusive prerogative of Asante or other Akan chiefs’.’
    1. 1.1A long garment made from kente, worn loosely around the shoulders and waist.
      • ‘Nigerians wear the boubou, Ghanaians the kente, former president Mobutu Sese Seko of the former Zaire made the safari suit his own.’


Mid 20th century: from Twi, cloth.