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Oxford officially adds githeri, sambaza, chang'aa to the English dictionary

The Oxford English Dictionary is updated quarterly with new words


The Oxford English Dictionary has been updated with more Swahili words, days after the world marked the first-ever International Kiswahili language Day.

The new words add to boda boda, matatu and zeze which have previously been incorporated into the English dictionary.

The words which have been newly listed in the dictionary are:-

  1. Asante Sana - which means thank you very much
  2. Collabo - which means to work jointly which is used mostly by creatives
  3. Jembe - which is a farm tool used by to dig
  4. Nyama Choma - which means roasted meat
  5. Sambaza - which translates to share something mostly money
  6. Githeri - a traditional central Kenyan dish consisting of boiled maize and legumes, typically beans
  7. Changa'a - which is a Kenyan alcoholic drink made from fermented millet, maize, or sorghum grains, a liquor so strong its production
  8. Sheng - which is a language that is a blend of the English language and other native languages used mostly by youth in urban areas.

The Oxford English Dictionary which is updated on quarterly basis has had over 700 words added to the dictionary from different languages across the world.

Other Swahili words in the Oxford English Dictionary include:-

  1. Buibui – a traditional garment worn by Muslim women in East Africa, typically a long black gown with a black head covering that leaves only the eyes or face exposed.
  2. Kanga – a type of cotton fabric printed with designs in bright colours, typically in squares or rectangles featuring a border on all four sides, and used especially for women’s clothing; a piece of this fabric, often worn as a shawl or wrap.
  3. Kanzu – a long, loose-fitting white tunic worn by men.
  4. Shuka – a long piece of fabric usually worn as a loincloth or used as a bedsheet.
  5. Chapo – a thin pancake of unleavened whole meal bread cooked on a griddle.
  6. Jiko – a type of portable charcoal or wood-burning stove, typically made of metal with a ceramic lining, used for cooking and heating.
  7. Mandazi – a small cake consisting of sweetened dough fried in oil, usually triangular in shape and typically eaten as a snack or as an accompaniment to other dishes these cakes collectively


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