(redirected from Kaffir language)
Also found in: Thesaurus, Encyclopedia.


also kaf·fir  (kăf′ər)
n. pl. Kaffir or Kaf·firs Offensive
1. A Xhosa.
2. Used especially in southern Africa as a disparaging term for a black person.

[Arabic kāfir, infidel (applied to the non-Muslim peoples of southern Africa originally by Muslim merchants and slave-traders operating in the region before the arrival of Europeans); see giaour.]
Usage Note: Because Kaffir is an offensive, disparaging term, many fruits and vegetables whose name traditionally included the word kaffir have been renamed, such as makrut lime for kaffir lime and durra for kaffir corn.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


(ˈkæfə) or


n, pl -firs or -fir
1. taboo (in southern Africa) any Black African
2. (Islam) offensive (among Muslims) a non-Muslim or infidel
[C19: from Arabic kāfir infidel, from kafara to deny, refuse to believe]
Usage: In South Africa the use of this word is nowadays completely taboo, and is indeed actionable in the courts. It is also advisable not to use the word in any of the compounds to which it gave rise
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


(ˈkæf ər, ˈkɑ fər)

n., pl. -firs, (esp. collectively) -fir.
usage: Definition 1 is a slur and should be avoided. It is used with disparaging intent and is perceived as highly insulting. It was usually a neutral term in earlier times, but its degree of offensiveness has increased markedly in recent years.
1. Extremely Disparaging and Offensive. (a contemptuous term used in South Africa to refer to a black person.)
3. Archaic. Xhosa.
[1780–90; < Arabic kāfir infidel]
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.Kaffir - important for human and animal foodkaffir - important for human and animal food; growth habit and stem form similar to Indian corn but having sawtooth-edged leaves
sorghum - economically important Old World tropical cereal grass
2.kaffir - an offensive and insulting term for any Black African
depreciation - a communication that belittles somebody or something
Republic of South Africa, South Africa - a republic at the southernmost part of Africa; achieved independence from the United Kingdom in 1910; first European settlers were Dutch (known as Boers)
Black African - an African who is Black
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.


[ˈkæfəʳ] N (Kaffirs or Kaffir (pl)) (offensive) → cafre mf
Collins Spanish Dictionary - Complete and Unabridged 8th Edition 2005 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1971, 1988 © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2005


n (also pej)Kaffer m
Collins German Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged 7th Edition 2005. © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1980 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1997, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2007