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matatu

Overview

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.

English

Etymology

Passengers boarding a matatu in Kenya.

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)).[1]

Pronunciation

Noun

matatu (plural matatus or matatu)

  1. (Kenya) A minivan used as a share taxi, especially one operating without a licence.
    Synonyms: daladala (Tanzania), mathree (Sheng slang)
    • 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.
    • Kenya definition
      A country in Eastern Africa. Official name: Republic of Kenya
    • Licence definition
      Standard spelling of license.
    • Mathree definition
      Synonym of matatu

Hypernyms

Derived terms

  • matatu culture

Translations

See also

References

  1. ^ matatu, n.”, in OED Online , Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, December 2018; “matatu, n.”, in Lexico, Dictionary.com; Oxford University Press, 2019–present.

Further reading


Spanish

Noun

matatu m (plural matatus)

  1. matatu

Swahili

Etymology

From -tatu (three), based on the original flat fare of thirty cents in the 1960s.

Pronunciation

Noun

matatu (ma class, plural matatu)

  1. (Kenya) matatu
    Synonyms: daladala (Tanzania), mathree, moshogi, shedhi (the latter three Sheng slang)
    • Moshogi definition
      matatu
    • Shedhi definition
      matatu

Adjective

matatu

  1. Ma class inflected form of -tatu.
    • Tatu definition
      Archaic form of tattoo. (decorative ink design on the skin)