Definition of Shona in US English:



  • 1A member of a group of peoples inhabiting parts of southern Africa.

    See also Mashona
    • ‘The latter invaded from what is now South Africa in the 1840s to assimilate some Shona as lower-class subjects.’
    • ‘He is a government loyalist, a former police boss, a ruthless campaigner and inquisitor when it comes to identifying the opposition, and a member of the ruling ethnic group, the Shonas.’
    • ‘Now we are whites, blacks, coloureds, Asians, Shonas, Ndebeles…’
    • ‘The same is true for an Ijaw Nigerian or a Shona Zimbabwean.’
    • ‘Many pieces of this type - aprons, dolls, beaded boxes, baskets, and medicine gourds - have been attributed to the Ndau of Zimbabwe, who are a Shona subgroup.’
    • ‘Social organization in the Shona was based on distinctions between commoners and a ruling class.’
    • ‘There are two main ethnic groups, the Shona, who represent 75 percent of the population, and the Ndebele, who represent 19 percent.’
  • 2Any of the Bantu languages spoken by the Shona.

    • ‘After we saw the movie last Saturday, I was chatting with Bill, and he said his field methods consultant's mother is a Shona speaker.’
    • ‘A confrontation which in the past gave rise to a Shona word meaning ‘the storm that cleanses’ - a storm that has cost 100,000 lives and has a worrying resonance within the current crisis.’
    • ‘A biochemist, he is a Manyika (a Shona speaker) from Manicaland province who became Zimbabwe's youngest member of parliament in 1980.’
    • ‘In common with other Bantu languages, Shona has a basic CV syllable structure.’
    • ‘In others, such as Hausa, Shona, and Swahili, because of bilingualism and code-mixing, the influence may have affected not only vocabulary but also structure.’


  • Relating to the Shona or their languages.

    • ‘When some Ndebele challenged this Shona dominance in the 1980s, his army's notorious Fifth Brigade murdered, raped and pillaged its way through Matabeleland.’
    • ‘In his presentation in Harare, Makoni highlighted the importance of ‘hunhu’, a Shona word for accepted African moral standards.’
    • ‘The musical short film, based on a Shona folk tale, will premiere at ZIFF complete with a live performance of the songs in the film.’


A local name.