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n. pl. Matabele or Ma·ta·be·les
[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).]
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.
npl -les or -le
1. (Peoples) a member of a formerly warlike people of southern Africa, now living in Zimbabwe: driven out of the Transvaal by the Boers in 1837. Now known as: Ndebele
2. (Languages) the language of this people, belonging to the Bantu group of the Niger-Congo family
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014