Zulu 101

Zulu Word List

The purpose of this list is to give a rough idea of the Zulu 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

Zulu
(isiZulu)
I

ngi-, mina
you (singular)

u-, wena
he

u-, yena
we

si-, thina
you (plural)

ni-, nina
they

ba-, bona
this

lo, leli, lesi, le, lolu, lobu, lokhu
that

lowo, lelo, leso, leyo, lolo, lobo, lokho
here

lapha, khona
there

lapho, laphaya, khona
who

ubani (interrogative)
what

-ni, yini (interrogative)
where

-phi (interrogative)
when

nini
how

kanjani, ngani
not

a-, akekho, abekho
all

-nke
many

-ningi
some

-nye
few

-mbalwa, -ncane
other

-nye
one

-dwa, -nye
two

-bili
three

-thathu
four

-ne
five

-hlanu
big

-khulu
long

-de
wide

-banzi
thick

-qinile, -gqinsi
heavy

-nzima
small

-ncane
short

-fuphi
narrow

-ncane, -msweswana
thin

-ondile
woman

umfazi
man (adult male)

indoda, umlisa
man (human being)

umuntu
child

umntwana
wife

umka-, inkosikazi
husband

umyeni, indoda
mother

umama
father

ubaba
animal

isilwane
fish

inhlanzi, ufishi
bird

inyoni
dog

inja
louse

intwala
snake

inyoka
worm

isibungu, umsundu
tree

isihlahla, umuthi
forest

ihlathi
stick

induku, uthi
fruit

isithelo
seed

inhlamvu, imbewu
leaf

ikhasi, iqabi
root

impande (of a plant), umsuka (cause, origin)
bark (of a tree)

igxolo
flower

imbali
grass

utshani
rope

intambo
skin

isikhumba
meat

inyama
blood

igazi
bone

ithambo
fat (noun)

amafutha
egg

iqanda
horn

uphondo
tail

umsila
feather

uphaphe
hair

unwele
head

ikhanda
ear

indlebe
eye

iso, ihlo
nose

ikhala
mouth

umlomo
tooth

izinyo
tongue (organ)

ulimi
fingernail

uzipho
foot

unyawo
leg

umlenze
knee

idolo
hand

isandla
wing

iphiko
belly

isisu
guts

ithumbu
neck

intamo
back

umhlane
breast

ibele
heart

inhliziyo
liver

isibindi
to drink

-phuza
to eat

-dla
to bite

-luma
to suck

-munca, -ncela
to spit

-phimisa
to vomit

-phalaza
to blow

-vunguza
to breathe

-phefumula
to laugh

-hleka
to see

-bona
to hear

-zwa
to know

-azi
to think

-cabanga
to smell

(to have a particular smell) -nuka, (to sense the smell of) -nuka, -zwa
to fear

-esaba, -saba
to sleep

-lala
to live

-phila, -zwa
to die

-fa
to kill

-bulala, -fisa
to fight

-lwa
to hunt

-zingela
to hit

-shaya
to cut

-sika, -nquma
to split

-dabula
to stab

-gwaza
to scratch

-klwebha
to dig

-mba
to swim

-bhukuda
to fly

-ndiza
to walk

-hamba
to come

-za
to lie (as in a bed)

-lala (lie down, sleep), -cambalala (be lying down)
to sit

-hlala (sit down), -hleli, -hlezi (be sitting, be seated)
to stand

-sukuma (stand up), -ma (be standing)
to turn (intransitive)

-jika, -guquka, -phenduka
to fall

-wa
to give

-nika, -nikeza, -pha
to hold

-phatha, -bamba
to squeeze

-cindezela
to rub

-hlikihla
to wash

-geza, -hlamba
to wipe

-sula
to pull

-donsa
to push

-sunduza
to throw

-phosa
to tie

-bopha
to sew

-thunga
to count

-bala
to say

-thi
to sing

-cula, -hlabelela, -huba
to play

-dlala
to float

-ntaza
to flow

-gobhoza
to freeze

-nquma (solidify), -qanda (be freezing cold)
to swell

-vuvukala
sun

ilanga
moon

inyanga
star

imbasa, inkanyezi
water

amanzi
rain

imvula
river

umfula
lake

ichibi
sea

ulwandle
salt

itswayi, usawoti
stone

itshe
sand

isihlabathi
dust

uthuli
earth

umhlaba
cloud

ifu
fog

inkungu
sky

izulu
wind

umoya
snow

iqhwa
ice

iqhwa
smoke

intuthu
fire

umlilo
ash

umlotha
to burn

-sha
road

umgwaqo, umgwaqana
mountain

intaba
red

-bomvu
green

-luhlaza
yellow

-liphuzi, -ncombo
white

-mhlophe
black

-mnyama
night

ubusuku
day

ilanga, umuhla, usuku
year

unyaka
warm

-fudumele
cold

-makhaza
full

-gcwele
new

-sha
old

-dala
good

-hle
bad

-bi
rotten

-bolile (decayed), -bi (bad)
dirty

-ngcolile
straight

-qondile
round

-yindilinga (circular), -yimbulunga (spherical)
sharp (as a knife)

-bukhali
dull (as a knife)

-buthuntu
smooth

-bushelezi (not rough), -mnandi (comfortable)
wet

-manzi, -nethile
dry

-omile
correct

-lungile
near

eduze
far

kude
right

kwesokudla

View other word lists here