Definition of Tswana in English:


nounTswana, Tswanas, Batswana

  • 1A member of a southern African people living in Botswana, South Africa, and neighbouring areas.

    • ‘The rest were 10 Indians, two Americans, two Koreans, one Kenyan, five Malawians, a Belgian, one Senegalese, one Dutch, one Greek, one German national, two Ghanaians, three Tswanas, two Canadians, a Dane and two Irish nationals.’
    • ‘Thank you to all my thousands of supporters, my people, all the farmers and all the Tswanas and Zulus who love me.’
    • ‘In the late 19th century, hostilities broke out between the Batswana and Boer settlers from the Transvaal.’
    • ‘The Tswanas are the smallest ethnic group in Namibia.’
    • ‘The Tswanas right now are paying for primary and secondary education.’
  • 2mass noun The language of the Tswana, one of the official languages of South Africa.

    • ‘The schoolbooks were in English, notably the ubiquitous Nelson's Royal Readers, and Plaatje emerged with English alongside Tswana as his main language.’
    • ‘There are other languages, Tswana, Venda, and Ndebela.’
    • ‘It boasts a multi-lingual programme, including Sotho, Tswana, Pedi, Afrikaans and Xhosa, and creates an opportunity for writers to stimulate the often declining readership of their vernacular.’
    • ‘It uses all the languages of South Africa, running subtitles in English when cast members break into Zulu, Xhosa, Sotho, Afrikaans, Tswana or any of a dozen other tongues.’
    • ‘Mary tells me there are CDs available each with 500 ‘everyday phrases’ in Xhosa, Zulu, Sotho and Tswana.’


  • Relating to the Tswana or their language.

    • ‘The name Kami means acceptance in the Tswana language.’
    • ‘The domination of the country by the Tswana polities has persisted in a nonethnic government through the easy assumption of the predominance of Tswana people, language, and customs.’
    • ‘There was a Bushman village near Roger's camp and I walked there with Tumalano, his Tswana foreman, who spoke their language as well as English.’
    • ‘Traditional healers blessed the occasion and Tswana dancers in animal skins and traditional dress, were roundly cheered as they clapped and danced their way through their intricate dance.’
    • ‘To the north, Tswana chiefs and notables became involved in commercial hunting and supplied timber to Kimberley before the railways and coal arrived in 1884.’


Stem of Setswana moTswana, plural baTswana.