English words of African origin
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This is a list of English language words that come from any of the Sub-Saharan African languages. It excludes placenames except where they have become common words.
- aardvark - Afrikaans word, meaning earth (or ground) pig
- apartheid - Afrikaans policy of separate development/living
- banana - West African, possibly Wolof banana
- banjo - probably Bantu mbanza
- basenji- breed of dog from the Congo
- biltong - from Afrikaans - cured meat (often used in South African English)
- bongo - West African boungu
- braai - from Afrikaans - barbecue (often used in South African English)
- buckra - from Efik and Ibibio mbakara "master"
- bwana - from swahili
- chachacha possibly from Kimbundu, onomatopoeia for ringing bells or rattles worn around the legs of a female dancers.
- chigger - possibly from Wolof and Yoruba jiga "insect")
- chimpanzee - from a Bantu language, possibly Tshiluba kivili-chimpenze
- cola - from West African languages (Temne kola, Mandinka kolo)
- coffee - disputed; either from the Ethiopian region/Kingdom of Kaffa, where coffee originated, or Arabic kahwa
- conga - feminized form of Congo through Spanish
- dengue - possibly from Swahili dinga
- djembe from West African languages 
- fandango- possibly from the kikongo empire
- Geranuk - Somali: Gerenuk means "giraffe-necked" in the Somali language
- gnu - from Bushman !nu through Hottentot i-ngu and Dutch gnoe
- goober - possibly from Bantu (Kikongo and Kimbundu nguba)
- gumbo - from Bantu (Kimbundu ngombo meaning "okra")
- indaba - from Xhosa or Zulu languages - 'meeting' (often used in South African English)
- jambalaya possibly from tshiluba
- jamboree possibly from swahili "jambo".
- jazz - from West African languages (Mandinka jasi, Temne yas)
- jive - possibly from Wolof jev
- jumbo - from Swahili (jambo or jumbe or from Kongo nzamba "elephant")
- juju - Yoruba
- juke, jukebox - possibly from Wolof and Bambara dzug through Gullah
- Kwanzaa - from the Swahili phrase matunda ya kwanza, meaning "first fruits".
- kwashiorkor - from Ga language, Coastal Ghana meaning "swollen stomach"
- impala - from Zulu im-pala
- lapa - from Sotho languages - enclosure or barbecue area (often used in South African English)
- macaque - from Bantu makaku through Portuguese and French
- mamba - from Zulu or Swahili mamba
- mambo - possibly West African through Haitian Creole
- marimba - from Bantu (Kimbundu and Swahili marimba, malimba)
- merengue (dance) possibly from Fulani mererek i meaning to shake or quiver
- mumbo jumbo - uncertain West African etymology
- mojo - from Fula moco'o "medicine man" through Louisiana Creole French or Gullah
- obeah - from West African (Efik ubio, Twi ebayifo)
- okra - from Igbo ókùrù
- okapi - from a language in the Congo
- safari - from Swahili travel, ultimately from Arabic
- samba from an African language through Brazilian Portuguese , carnaval website
- sambo - Fula sambo meaning "uncle"
- sangoma - from Zulu - traditional healer (often used in South African English)
- tango - probably from Ibibio tamgu
- tsetse - from a Bantu language (Tswana tsetse, Luhya tsiisi)
- trek - from Afrikaans - move (often used in South African English)
- ubuntu - Bantu languages
- voodoo - from West African languages (Ewe and Fon vodu "spirit")
- yam - West African (Fula nyami, Twi anyinam)
- zebra - possibly from a language in the Congo
- zombie - Central African (Kikongo zumbi, Kimbundu nzambi)
- ^ The Etymology of 'Buckaroo', Julian Mason, American Speech, Vol. 35, No. 1 (Feb., 1960), pp. 51-55, 
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Published - January 2009
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