Shona 101

Shona Word List

The purpose of this list is to give a rough idea of the Shona language. The words listed below are not the most common words, but a broad sampling of words. See the Word Lists page for more details.

English

Shona
I

ndi, ini
you *(sing)*

iwe
he

a
we

ti
you *(pl)*

imi
they

va
this

ino
that

iyo
here

pano
there

apo
who

ani
what

chii
where

kupi
when

rini
how

sei, -ngani
not

kwete
all

ese
many

zhinji
some

amwe
few

shoma
other

imwe
one

motsi
two

piri
three

tatu
four

china
five

shanu
big

-hombe
long

-reba
wide

-fara
thick

-kora
heavy

-rema
small

-diki
short

-pfupi
narrow

-dete, -nhete, -sunhu
thin

-onda
woman

mukadzi
man

murume
human

munhu
child

mwana
wife

mudzimai
husband

murume
mother

amai
father

baba
animal

mhuka
fish

hove
bird

shiri, nyana *(young bird)*
dog

imbwa
louse

inda
snake

nyoka
worm

gonye
tree

muti
forest

sango
stick

rutanda
fruit

muchero
seed

mhodzi, mbeu
leaf

shizha
root

mudzi
bark *(tree)*

gwati
flower

ruva
grass

uswa
rope

tambo
skin

ganda
meat

nyama
blood

ropa
bone

bvupa
fat *(n.)*

mafuta
egg

zai
horn

nyanga
tail

muswe
feather

nhenga
hair

vhudzi, mvere *(wool)*
head

musoro
ear

nzeve
eye

ziso
nose

mhuno
mouth

muromo, mukanwa
tooth

zino
tongue

rurimi
fingernail

nzara
foot

tsoka
leg

gumbo
knee

ibvi
hand

ruoko
wing

bapiro
belly

dumbu
guts

ura, matumbu
neck

mutsipa, huro *(throat)*
back

musana
breast

zamu *(breast)*, chifuva *(chest)*
heart

moyo
liver

chitaka
to drink

-nwa
to eat

kudya, -dya
to bite

-ruma
to suck

-sveta
to spit

-pfira
to vomit

-rutsa
to blow

-furidza
to breathe

-fema
to laugh

-seka
to see

-ona
to hear

-nzwa
to know

-ziva
to think

-funga
to smell

-nhuwidza
to fear

-tya
to sleep

-rara
to live

-rarama
to die

-fa
to kill

-uraya
to fight

-rwa
to hunt

-vhima
to hit

-rova, -bhura
to cut

-cheka, -kuma
to split

-dambura
to stab

-baya, -junga
to scratch

-kwenya, -kwara
to dig

-chera, -tukumbam
to swim

-shambira
to fly

-mbururuka
to walk

-famba
to come

-uya
to lie *(bed)*

-garira *(ambush)*, -zorora *(rest)*
to sit

-gara
to stand

-sumuka, -simuka, -mira
to turn

-pota
to fall

-wa, -donha
to give

-pa
to hold

-bata, -pfunda
to squeeze

-dvinya
to rub

-kwiza
to wash

-geza
to wipe

-pukuta
to pull

-zvuva, -dhonza
to push

-sunda, -sandidzira
to throw

-kanda
to tie

-sunga
to sew

-sona
to count

-verenga, -rava
to say

-taura, -ti
to sing

-imba
to play

-tamba
to float

-papama
to flow

-erera
to freeze

-gwamba, -tonhodza
to swell

-zvimba
sun

zuva
moon

jenaguru, mwedzi *(month)*
star

nyeredzi
water

mvura
rain

kunaya
river

rwizi
lake

dziva
sea

gungwa, nyanza *(ocean)*
salt

munyu
stone

ibwe
sand

jecha
dust

huruva
earth

ivhu, pasi
cloud

gore, fuva *(< Manyika)*
fog

mhute
sky

denga
wind

mhepo
snow

sino *(< Eng)*
ice

aisi *(< Eng)*
smoke

hutsi
fire

moto
ash

dota
to burn

-pisa
road

rhodhi
mountain

gomo
red

-tsvuku
green

-girini *(< Eng)*
yellow

-yero
white

-chena
black

-dema
night

husiku
day

zuva
year

gore
warm

-dziya
cold

-tonhora
full

-zara
new

-itsva
old

-chembera, -tsaru
good

-naka
bad

-ipa
rotten

-ora *(rot)*
dirty

-asviba
straight

-twasanuka
round

denderedzwa
sharp *(knife)*

-pinza
blunt *(knife)*

-gomara
smooth

-tsetseka
wet

-totesa
dry

-omesa, -oma
correct

-tsiura, -ruramisa
near

-pedo
far

-kure
right

-rudyi
left

ruboshwe
at

ku, kuna, pa, pana
in

mu
with

ne
and

na-, ne-
if

dai, nana, kana
because

nekuti
name

zita, dzinza *(family name)*

View other word lists here