Tonga, noun

Also Thonga.
Tsonga, ZuluShow more Either from an early form of a Tsonga word for this people, or from Zulu iThonga (plural amaThonga), umThonga (plural abaThonga) a member of this people (perhaps earlier meaning ‘blacksmith’, ‘metal-worker’, or the source of this meaning, the Tonga being at one stage noted for their metal-working skills). For an explanation of plural forms, see aba- and ama-.
1. Plural amaTonga, amaTongas, baTonga, or Tongas (always with initial or medial capital). Shangaan sense 1 a. Also attributive.
1852 Natal Mercury 25 Nov.The property of the Amatongas, together with the ivory of the traders, were seized by Panda.
1991 Merrett & Butcher Robert Struthers’s Hunting Jrnl 9Amatonga was the name used by the Zulu, and borrowed by the British, to refer to all the African groups between St. Lucia and Delagoa Bay.
2. Tsonga sense 2.
1941 Bantu World 29 Mar. 5The Thonga language is a Bantu language spoken by the people living in Zoutpansberg, Lydenberg, Waterberg, Pietersberg and Pretoria districts...Today..we are instructed to write Thonga in a very different way.
1950 H. Gibbs Twilight in S. Afr. 33The south-eastern groups have five group languages, Nguni, Sotho, Venda, Tonga, and Inhambane, among which fusion has occurred, the Tonga group, Ronga, Tonga and Tswa.
Shangaan1 a. Also attributive.

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