Definition of Masai in US English:

Masai

(also Maasai)

nounPlural Masais

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

    • ‘But few Maasai benefited from the early privatization, nor did they keep their animals from grazing on the private ranches.’
    • ‘However, given their economic circumstances, many Maasai may not have surpluses to sell.’
    • ‘Clearly, for many Maasai, cultivation has played an increasingly important role in subsistence and nutrition.’
    • ‘A number of Maasai and Samburu have taken jobs as park rangers and safari guides.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The traditional inhabitants of the region, the nomadic, cattle-herding Maasai, have lived alongside elephants for centuries.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The Masai in eastern Africa have raised cattle for centuries.’
    • ‘The Maasai are speakers of the Maa language, which is also spoken by the Samburu and the Chamus living in central Kenya.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘There are a large number of strong and influential ethnic groupings in Kenya including the Kikuyu, Luo, Kelanjin, Samburu and the Masai.’
    • ‘This may be partly due to the fact that Maasai and Kikuyu speak different languages.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The assistant guide was a happily married Masai in his late thirties.’
    • ‘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’.’
    • ‘What happened to those Masai who wanted to give us cows?’
    • ‘A 30-year-old Masai, says she suffered 13 years of abuse before deciding to defy tradition and take her husband to court.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Most of the students, she said, spoke Maasai, their native language, as well as Swahili, the language that primary school is taught in.’
    • ‘This consisted of carefully organized caravans whose leaders spoke Masai and had developed wide contacts among this otherwise hostile people.’
    • ‘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.’

adjective

  • Relating to the Masai or their language.

    • ‘When the group arrived in the Masai area they camped out for the first four nights surrounded by lions, elephants and wildebeest.’
    • ‘The Masai warrior tribe are semi - nomadic and live on the border of Kenya and Tanzania.’
    • ‘And miles away from the hospital is this tiny Masai settlement.’
    • ‘Glass beads on Maasai necklaces are strung onto thin commercial wire.’
    • ‘These Masai warriors had never seen a sparkler before.’
    • ‘Known for their warrior skills and semi - nomadic ways, the Masai life revolves around livestock, moving with the seasons.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘This money could be used, for example, to train Maasai guides and teach them English language skills.’
    • ‘She said the Masai people were in great need of language education.’
    • ‘Visitors can accompany their Masai hosts on game drives to see hyenas, leopards, lions, and waterbuck.’
    • ‘Before she left, she was given an array of presents from former students, including an ebony carving of a Masai family.’
    • ‘Karl was interested in the Masai tribes; despite their height they rarely suffered from back problems.’
    • ‘The two pointed triangles are a common feature of Maasai beadwork.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Classroom lessons are taught in English, not in the Maasai language.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’

Origin

The name in Masai.

Pronunciation

Masai

/ˈmäˌsī/