Meaning of umfaan in English:



  • 1South African (among Xhosa-speaking people) a young man who has gone through initiation but is not yet married.

    ‘The train was led by an umfaan, while at the back the ` guard’ sang along to the radio balanced on his head.’
    • ‘The umfaans meantime collected wood and water and lit fires by using fire-drills worked between the palms of their hands.’
    • ‘‘Thank you umfaan,’ he said, taking off his old shoes and placing the new ones gently on his feet.’
    • ‘Sometimes at night, I listened to umfaans’ hullabaloo, while they jogged past our hedge, returning from stick-fights in the valley off Old Mill Way.’
    • ‘Zulu kraals were dotted about, umfaans nudged cows out of the way and the dramatic Drakensberg Escarpment took over the horizon.’
    1. 1.1(among Zulu-speaking people) a boy.
    2. 1.2 offensive A black male domestic servant.



/ʊmˈfɑːn/ /ʌmˈfɑːn/


From Zulu and Xhosa umfana.