African

noun
Af·​ri·​can | \ ˈa-fri-kən How to pronounce African (audio) also ˈä- \

Definition of African

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a native or inhabitant of Africa
2 : a person and especially a Black person of African ancestry

African

adjective

Definition of African (Entry 2 of 2)

: of, relating to, or characteristic of the continent of Africa or its people

Other Words from African

Adjective

Africanness \ ˈa-​fri-​kə(n)-​nəs How to pronounce African (audio) \ noun

First Known Use of African

Noun

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adjective

1548, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for African

Noun

Middle English Aufrican, Affrican, going back to Old English Africanas (plural), borrowed from Latin Āfricānus african entry 2

Adjective

borrowed from Latin Āfricānus, from Āfrica (short for Āfrica terra, literally, "African land," from feminine of Āfricus "of the Roman province of Africa [present-day northern Tunisia], of the continent of Africa," from Āfr-, Āfer "of Africa, inhabitant of North Africa [other than Egypt]" —of unknown origin— + -icus -ic entry 1) + -ānus -an entry 2

Learn More About African

Time Traveler for African

Time Traveler

The first known use of African was before the 12th century

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near African

Africa

African

Africana

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for African

Cite this Entry

“African.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/African. Accessed 26 May. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for African

African

noun
Af·​ri·​can | \ ˈa-fri-kən How to pronounce African (audio) \

Kids Definition of African

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a person born or living in Africa

African

adjective

Kids Definition of African (Entry 2 of 2)

: of or relating to Africa or African people African history African wildlife

More from Merriam-Webster on African

Nglish: Translation of African for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of African for Arabic Speakers

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Which Word Does Not Belong?

  • one green toy robot amidst many red toy robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!