Definitions

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A name given in South Africa to a large predatory true ant which is said to capture white ants and keep them as slaves in its own colonies.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • proper noun plural (Ethnol.) A warlike South African Kaffir tribe.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun a Bantu language sometimes considered a dialect of Zulu

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Sotho Matebele, pl. of Letebele, member of the Zulu warrior contingents entering Sotho territory during upheavals in the 19th century : le-, sing. n. pref. + -tebele (perhaps from teba, to sink down (in reference to a Zulu battle technique in which warriors would sink down or crouch behind their distinctive large shields), or thebe, shield).]

Examples

  • In 1893, in what became known as the Matabele War, the British South Africa Corporation moved to put down a rebellion by Ndebele people, an offshoot of the Zulu nation in the area that would become Rhodesia, and then Zimbabwe.

    The Gun

  • So I wasn't anxious to help them, for then -- you know what happens when the Matabele are the stormers!

    Benita, an African romance

  • The bravest of the Matabele was their legendary chief, Uwini, who claimed that magical powers allowed him to dodge lethal gunfire.

    Home | Mail Online

  • This they did in about twenty minutes, the firing on both sides being heavy but strange to say not a man of ours was hit while the Matabele dropped in all directions.

    The Gun

  • The Matabele fell by the thousands beneath a hail of machine-gun fire, and their lands were soon rechristened Rhodesia.

    Companies to Colonies

  • Before 1980 Zimbabwe was a white-supremacist British colony named after the British financier Cecil Rhodes, whose company, the British South Africa Company, stole the land from the indigenous Matabele and Mashona people in the 1890s...

    Ellen Brown: Is QE2 the Road to Zimbabwe-style Hyperinflation? Not Likely

  • More to the point it was well established that he was a criminal, he having set his genocidal, North Korean-trained Shona attack dogs on the hapless Matabele people in the early 1980s.

    The FCO regrets to announce...........

  • Before 1980 Zimbabwe was a white-supremacist British colony named after the British financier Cecil Rhodes, whose company, the British South Africa Company, stole the land from the indigenous Matabele and Mashona people in the 1890s ...

    Ellen Brown: Is QE2 the Road to Zimbabwe-style Hyperinflation? Not Likely

  • More to the point it was well established that he was a criminal, he having set his genocidal, North Korean-trained Shona attack dogs on the hapless Matabele people in the early 1980s.

    Archive 2008-06-22

  • Before 1980 Zimbabwe was a white-supremacist British colony named after the British financier Cecil Rhodes, whose company, the British South Africa Company, stole the land from the indigenous Matabele and Mashona people in the 1890s...

    Ellen Brown: Is QE2 the Road to Zimbabwe-style Hyperinflation? Not Likely

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