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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.


(ˌmætəˈbiːlɪ; -ˈbɛlɪ)
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
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.Matabele - a Bantu language sometimes considered a dialect of Zulu
Nguni - a group of southern Bantu languages
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.
References in classic literature ?
Imagination has been verified by fact; the King Solomon's Mines I dreamed of have been discovered, and are putting out their gold once more, and, according to the latest reports, their diamonds also; the Kukuanas or, rather, the Matabele, have been tamed by the white man's bullets, but still there seem to be many who find pleasure in these simple pages.
Maxim's gun proved utterly reliable and was adopted by the British, with whom it first saw action during the 1893 First Matabele War in South Africa.
Tra i Matabele l'amuleto per la pioggia usato dagli stregoni era fatto col sangue e con la bile di un bove nero.
The ticket lady gave me two choices, the rattler which cost the same as a matabele cocoa bean and takes two lifetimes to get to Wolverhampton, or The Branson rocket ship which costs another mortgage and travels at warp factor three.
Scientists from Wurzburg University in Germany found African Matabele ants carried creature that had lost limbs in fights with termites home and licked their injuries.
Scientists at Wurzburg University in Germany found that after fights with termites, African matabele ants carried soldiers that had lost limbs home and licked their injuries.
The African ant species ( Megaponera analis , also known as the Matabele ant, preys upon termites by hunting them in groups.
The economy is hostage to Chinese State owned companies beholding to Beijing and tribal tensions between the Matabele and Shona people that predate even the arrival of Cecil Rhodes, let alone Ian Smith.
The detailed biographies of the men studied show that conventional Matabele masculinity - kinship responsibilities, fatherhood and camaraderie - swayed some men.
Scientists described the unique rescue behavior of the African Matabele ants, called Megaponera analis, after observing them in Ivory Coast's Comoe National Park, but did not ascribe charitable motives to the insects.