Zulu, noun and & adjective

Zoola, ZoolaaShow more Formerly also Zoola, Zoolaa, Zoolah, Zooler, Zooloo, Zoolu, Zoulah, Zoulou, Zula, Zulo, Zuloe, Zuloo, and (occasionally) with small initial.
IsiZuluShow more IsiZulu noun stem -Zulu, found in words such as amaZulu Zulus, the Zulu people or clan collectively (singular umZulu), isiZulu the Zulu language, and uZulu the Zulu people; as interjection, uttered in praise of the Zulu king.
From the name of uZulu (dates unknown, probably died c1709), the founding leader of the dominant amaZulu clan, the name of which was later assumed by the consolidated chiefdoms under it (see note at sense A 1). UZulu’s name was derived from izulu sky, a word which later also came to mean ‘heaven’. Through misunderstanding of its derivation, amaZulu has often been taken to mean ‘sky people’ or ‘people of heaven’, but a strictly correct interpretation would be ‘people of uZulu (the clan founder)’.
In addition to the senses given below, there are senses of ‘Zulu’ which have developed outside South Africa and which are used internationally; these will be found in general dictionaries of English.
A. noun
a. Plural Zulus, amaZulu, or unchanged. A member of an African people of the Nguni group, living mainly in KwaZulu-Natal. See also Vatua sense b. Also attributive.
The Zulu people was formed by the unification, mainly from 1818 onwards, of a number of Nguni clans and chiefdoms living in what has become the northern half of KwaZulu-Natal. A major factor in this consolidation was the conquest of other groups by the amaZulu chiefdom led by Shaka, who became the first king of the unified group. See also Mfecane.
1824 in J.S. Christopher Natal (1850) 21Chaka, king of the Zulus, to whom belongs the whole of the country from Natal to Dela Goa Bay.
1829 W. Shaw Diary. 16 MayChaka’s grandfather was called Zulu, which signifies High, or the Heavens..from him the Nation is now called Amazulu, or people of Heaven.
c1847 H.H. Dugmore in J. Maclean Compendium of Kafir Laws (1906) 1The Amampondo and the Amazulu are..distinguished by their dress, mode of warfare, and other customs.
1850 H.F. Fynn Diary. (Killie Campbell Africana Library MS22895)We had proceeded seven days from Natal when we had slept in a bush on the Imbean Clola river and little expecting the Zuloes would follow us, were surprised an hour before daybreak by a violent noise which was the Zuloes stabbing many of our people, while we were all asleep.
1876 F. Boyle Savage Life 31He was a Zulu, but taller than the average of his race.
1887 J.W. Matthews Incwadi Yami 187The South African native, especially the Zulu, is..naturally honest.
1908 Rand Daily Mail 11 Sept. 7The gangs quickly gained adherents. A few Xosa, Zulu and Fingo of a very low type were admitted to membership.
1931 G. Beet Grand Old Days 23After the day’s work, diggers in their hundreds were talking fortissimo..; whole tribes of Zulus, Xosas and Bechuanas were booming out their chants of love and battle.
1949 O. Walker Proud Zulu (1951) 9At the beginning of the 19th Century..the amaZulu, or ‘Children of Heaven,’ were a tiny pastoral African clan surrounded by scores of equally pastoral tribes.
1964 G. Campbell Old Dusty 32I was a soldier in the impis of the amaZulu.
1976 West & Morris Abantu 37To many people the Zulu are the best-known African people on the continent, for their military exploits led to the rise of a great kingdom that made them feared for a long time.
1978 A. Elliott Sons of Zulu 14Since the pagan tribesman has no equivalent of heaven — nor any hell — I personally prefer to interpret ‘Zulu’ to mean the sky and ‘amaZulu’ to mean ‘the people of the sky’.
1980 N. Ferreira Story of Afrikaner 99There is only one South Africa...That does not mean you cannot be an Afrikaner or Zulu or Xhosa.
1990 New African 16 July 6Zulu said the people have been told that the African National Congress..is for AmaXhosa and there were no Zulus in it.
b. combination
Zululand, the area ruled by Zulus for much of the eighteenth century, roughly that area of KwaZulu-Natal to the north of the Tugela River; at one time the official name of this area, but usually an informal name; also attributive; hence Zululander, one (not necessarily a Zulu) who lives in Zululand.
1857 W.H.I. Bleek in Cape Monthly Mag. I. Apr. 202Known all over Kafirland and Zululand.
1865 S.F. Colenso in W. Rees Colenso Lett. from Natal (1958) 93Mr. Robertson, the Missionary in Zululand had said to him that the Bishop had given him his book.
1879 Daily News 22 Mar. 6We intend to ‘jump’ Zululand if we can.
1885 H. Rider Haggard King Solomon’s Mines 48I ran away from Zululand and came to Natal because I wanted to see the white man’s ways.
1905 A.T. Bryant Zulu-Eng. Dict. 66He (sc. Dinuzulu) is now re-instated as a headman in the Nongoma district in the north of Zululand.
1948 A. Paton Cry, Beloved Country 269The great tribe of Zululand.
1971 Daily News 26 Feb. 15The departure..reduces the number of South African born White priests in the Anglican Diocese of Zululand to two — and neither of these is a Zululander.
1974 E. Prov. Herald 4 Oct. 1A large Swazi impi..crossed the Swaziland border into Zululand..on Monday.
1992 Natal Mercury 23 Nov. 15New Zululand firm wins SBDC award.
c. nonce. The Zulu: The area inhabited by the Zulus.
1875 D. Leslie Among Zulus 31I am now on my way home. This is my eighth Sunday in the Zulu. I don’t know what sort of trip I have made.
2. Occasionally also isiZulu. The language of this people, being a Sintu (Bantu) language of the Nguni group.
1839 W.C. Harris Wild Sports 150Andries could stutter tolerably in Sichuana, and possessed a smattering of zooloo, and we thus hoped to be able to proceed without the aid of a sworn interpreter.
1850 J.E. Methley New Col. of Port Natal 38If your waggon driver be a Hottentot, or Mulatto, he will be able to interpret your orders, as they can generally speak the Zoola.
1885 H. Rider Haggard King Solomon’s Mines 22The people..were a branch of the Zulus, speaking a dialect of Zulu.
1912 W. Westrup Land of To-Morrow 57He leaned forward and spoke in Zulu to the puller.
1930 L. Barnes Caliban in Afr. 71It is rare to find any phrase in, say, Zulu for which there is an exact verbal equivalent in English or Afrikaans.
1936 H.F. Trew Botha Treks 175The general was talking Zulu.
1957 S.G. Millin in D. Wright S. Afr. Stories (1960) 152Rosie and her sister..knew English, Afrikaans and Zulu, no less than Sesuto.
1973 Drum 8 Jan. 14Bill..grew up in Natal and learned Zulu along with English.
1982 Pace June 16I wasn’t the best-qualified person for the job, but I got it because I speak Zulu. We’re using local people on this project and without Zulu I would have had no chance.
1988 New Nation 10 Mar. 15I would like to learn to speak Zulu and have purchased a set of cassettes and numerous books.
3. Plural Zulus. An indigenous breed of cattle: Nguni sense 3. See also sense B 3 below.
1852 C. Barter Dorp & Veld 155 (Pettman)Oxen of the..Fatherland breed,..though highly prized are surpassed for all working purposes by the light and hardy Zulus.
1880 Alice Times 6 Feb.They are a kind of Zulu, and like all the cattle from the mainland are small, wiry, and active.
c1963 B.C. Tait Durban Story 4A span of 16 Zulus (the term for small oxen)..were harnessed to the cart.
B. adjective.
Some of the uses cited below might more correctly be considered attributive uses of the noun.
1. Also AmaZulu. Of or pertaining to the Zulu people, or their culture or traditions.
1827 G. Thompson Trav. 408I accompanied Messrs. Farewell, Fynn, and several other seamen, with about forty natives, on a journey to King Chaka, of the Zoola nation.
1828 W. Shaw Diary. 30 JuneA vacant country..separates the Amapondo from the Amazooloo Nation.
1832 Graham’s Town Jrnl 28 Sept. 152You will have heard of the Zoola commando going out against the Mussellikats.
1835 G. Champion Jrnl (1968) 11The Zoolah chief, Dingaan.
1836 A.F. Gardiner (title)Narrative of a Journey to the Zoolu Country in South Africa.
1837 F. Owen Diary (1926) 10My two Zooloo men are able to give me some assistance in the pronunciation, and in the names of many external objects.
1843 J.C. Chase Cape of G.H. 238The Mantatees, the remnants of tribes broken up and dispersed by the Zoolah conquests in 1822 to 1824.
1857 D. Livingstone Missionary Trav. 86The Matabele, a Caffre or Zulu tribe.
1878 T.J. Lucas Camp Life & Sport 99The Zulu Kaffirs are, I think, even taller than the Amakosa, not unfrequently reaching six feet three.
1903 Ilanga 9 Oct. 4As a herder of cattle the Zulu youth is kept at home.
1908 Rand Daily Mail 11 Sept. 7The native police.., with the exception of about six, are Zulu...The native constables, because of their Zulu blood, are the sworn foes of the Amalaita.
1936 H.F. Trew Botha Treks 177An adaptation of the celebrated horns formation used by the Zulu impis.
c1948 H. Tracey Lalela Zulu p.vWhere the music is genuinely of Zulu origin, composed in the tradition of Zulu music, we have classified it as ‘Country Zulu’.
1954 H. Nxumalo in J. Crwys-Williams S. Afr. Despatches (1989) 31The fat Zulu warder said..: ‘He’s mad, sir.’
1970 A. Paton D.C.S. Oosthuizen Mem. Lecture No. 1 5Mr. Lubinda Mate, born in South Africa, married to a Zulu woman..was told..that he would have to leave South Africa.
1971 Personality 28 May 57‘Qash’ decided to..obey Zulu law.
1974 S. Afr. Panorama Sept. 2 (caption)They visited a Zulu kraal.
1976 M. Tholo in C. Hermer Diary (1980) 35Swazis and Zulus have a way of saying ‘Umuntu phe?’ meaning ‘Are you a person?’ as if, if you are not Swazi or Zulu, you are not a person.
1977 Fair Lady 8 June (Suppl.) 28Traditional English, Indian and Mauritian influences have married with..indigenous Zulu dishes.
1980 D.B. Coplan Urbanization of African Performing Arts. 46Local African instruments fashioned on European models such as..the igqongwe, a Zulu ramkie, have developed.
1982 Pace Nov. 100In Zulu mythology the trusted aides of Zulu kings were said to have been buried with them.
1990 M. Badela in New African 27 Aug. 1Prince Mduduzi Zulu of the Zulu Royal Family and Chief Mwelo Nonkonyana told hostel residents..that they were ‘playing right into the hands of the enemy’ by taking up clubs, spears, and guns.
1992 B. Keller in Scope 13 Nov. 90In their zeal to do away with Zulu values and Zulu discipline, they’ve trained their young to attack anyone who is Zulu.
2. Of, pertaining to, or in the language of the Zulu people.
1836 L. Grout in D.J. Kotze Lett. of American Missionaries (1950) 102We now have the prospect of entering immediately upon the work of reducing the Zoolah language to writing.
1871 J. Mackenzie Ten Yrs N. of Orange River 337Mr. Sykes..is a diligent and most successful student of the Zulu language.
1908 D. Blackburn Leaven 18Mr Betts added a few mispronounced abusive epithets from his limited Zulu vocabulary.
a1951 H.C. Bosman Willemsdorp (1977) 63He laughed to hear the elderly black woman emit a long string of Zulu swear-words.
1968 J. Lelyveld in Cole & Flaherty House of Bondage 8Soweto is not a Zulu or Xhosa word.
1987 G. Silber in Style Nov. 53Taking Zulu lessons.
1990 R. Gool Cape Town Coolie 113The translation of a Zulu poem..kept recurring in Henry’s mind.
3. Of or pertaining to an indigenous breed of cattle (see sense A 3 above).
1846 Natal Witness 27 Mar. (advt)Wanted, by the Undersigned, 30 to 40 Fat Zulu Oxen. P. Ferreira Pietermaritzburg.
1862 J.S. Dobie S. Afr. Jrnl (1945) 5Drawn by six pairs of tailless rats of oxen with immense upright horns — the Zulu breed.
1885 H. Rider Haggard King Solomon’s Mines 42I bought a beautiful team of twenty salted Zulu oxen...These Zulu oxen are small and light, not more than half the size of the Africander oxen..; but they will live where the Africanders will starve.
1897 F. Macnab On Veldt & Farm 134When I was in Natal, I saw cattle called Zulu cattle.
1948 H.V. Morton In Search of S. Afr. 184I saw Zulu cattle for the first time, beasts with wide-spreading horns, their hides strangely flecked with black and white.
1968 S. Cloete Chetoko 14The bull belonged to a famous breed. It went back through generations of raids and capture to the royal Zulu cattle — white animals with black skins beneath the hair, and black noses and ears.
1979 C. Endfield Zulu Dawn 177They..saw..a herd of Zulu cattle grazing!
4. combination
Zulu War, any of the series of conflicts between British and Zulu forces resulting from the invasion of Zululand by the British in 1879.
1880 S.F. Colenso in W. Rees Colenso Lett. from Natal (1958) 352It will be painful to my dear Husband. But he has had much to suffer — this Zulu War with all its attendant horrors.
1898 J.F. Ingram Story of Afr. City 77A magnificent cluster of white marble figures has been placed to commemorate the names of those who fell in the Zulu War.
1971 J. McClure Steam Pig (1973) 10He secured a military contract on the eve of the first Zulu War and prospered exceedingly.
1987 L. Capstickdale in S. Afr. Panorama Aug. 45Other rare items are..books on the Zulu War of 1879; [etc.].
A member of an African people of the Nguni group, living mainly in KwaZulu-Natal.
, the area ruled by Zulus for much of the eighteenth century, roughly that area of KwaZulu-Natal to the north of the Tugela River; at one time the official name of this area, but usually an informal name; also attributive; hence Zululander, one (not necessarily a Zulu) who lives in Zululand.
The Zulu:The area inhabited by the Zulus.
Occasionally also isiZulu.The language of this people, being a Sintu (Bantu) language of the Nguni group.
Plural Zulus.An indigenous breed of cattle: Nguni sense 3.
Also AmaZulu.Of or pertaining to the Zulu people, or their culture or traditions.
Of, pertaining to, or in the language of the Zulu people.
Of or pertaining to an indigenous breed of cattle (see sense A 3 above).
Hence Zulu  intransitive verb  nonce, in the phrase Zulu it  [formed by analogy with general English lord it], to dominate (an area) as the Zulus were seen to do; Zuludom  noun, the area inhabited by Zulus; Zuluize  transitive verb, to bring (a word) into a form suited to the Zulu language; so Zuluization  noun, the act or an instance of bringing (a word) into a form suited to the Zulu language; Zuluized  participial adjective, (of a word) brought into such a form; (of a person) not Zulu in origin, but assimilated into Zulu society; Zuluness  noun, the quality or state of being a Zulu.
1876 Jrnl Soc. Arts 28 Jan. 166Into the heart of savage Zuludom.
1882 P. Robinson Noah’s ArkThe lion.., they say, is King in Africa, yet the gorilla Zulus it over the forests within the lion’s territory.
1895 Pall Mall Gaz. (U.K.) 6 Aug.Death of John Dunn. A Zuluized Englishman.
1949 O. Walker Proud Zulu (1951) 33They used his Zulu-ised name ‘Jantoni’.
1987 C.T. Msimang in S. Afr. Jrnl of Afr. Langs Vol.7 No.3, 82Certain loans from English are Zulu’ized in Tsotsitaal.
1987 C.T. Msimang in S. Afr. Jrnl of Afr. Langs Vol.7 No.3, 85Irabaneka is Zulu’ization of ‘rubber neck’...An English adjective, ‘fond’, has been Zulu’ized by suffixing a verbal formative -za.
1990 D. Beckett in Frontline Sept. 30Shaka embodies Zuluness, tradition, the beliefs of their fathers.
1990 M. Kentridge Unofficial War 54Ndlovu..ascribes this unusual laissez faire attitude of the police to the essential ‘Zuluness’ of the Inkatha bands.
1992 B. Nzimande in Natal Witness 6 Nov. 1How can Buthelezi say we must fight for Zuluness...Zulus are fighting for freedom. Zuluness will not liberate them; the ideals of the Freedom Charter will.
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