This page has 4 definitions of matatu in English, Spanish, Castilian, and Swahili. Matatu is a noun and adjective. Also define these 12 related words and terms: Kenya, minivan, use, share taxi, operate, licence, daladala, mathree, matatu, moshogi, shedhi, and tatu.
Borrowed from Swahili matatu, a clipping of mapeni matatu (“thirty cents”, literally “three ten-cent coins”) (the flat fare paid for such transportation in the 1960s). The word matatu is from ma- (prefix forming plurals) + -tatu (“three”) (from Proto-Bantu *-tátʊ̀ (“three”)).
- (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /məˈtætuː/
Audio (Southern England) (file)
- (General American) IPA(key): /məˈtɑˌtu/
- Hyphenation: ma‧ta‧tu
matatu (plural matatus or matatu)
- (Kenya) A minivan used as a share taxi, especially one operating without a licence.
- 1982, United Nations Centre for Human Settlements Habitat News:
- A matatu is also more profitable when driven by its owner than by an employed driver, or if the employee-driver pays in all the earnings and the owner meets the operating costs, rather than when the owner demands a fixed sum of money daily, with the operator keeping the surplus.
- 2010, Philo Ikonya, Leading the Night, page 102:
- For now, matatus made lanes along both sides of tarmac main roads and went over, around or through potholes depending on their speed.
- 2017, Kenda Mutongi, Matatu: A History of Popular Transportation in Nairobi, page 98:
- Memories of their sense of trepidation, or even the anger, aboard a matatu could still be visceral.
Use definitionThe act of using. (1 of 10 use definitions)
Licence definitionStandard spelling of .
Mathree definitionSynonym of
- matatu culture
matatu m (plural matatus)
From -tatu (“three”), based on the original flat fare of thirty cents in the 1960s.
Audio (Kenya) (file)
matatu (ma class, plural matatu)
- (Kenya) matatu