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Af·​ri·​kaans ˌa-fri-ˈkän(t)s How to pronounce Afrikaans (audio)
: a language developed from 17th century Dutch that is one of the official languages of the Republic of South Africa


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: of or relating to Afrikaners or Afrikaans

Examples of Afrikaans in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
The title beast’s intermittent narration shifts at various points from Afrikaans to the Namibian Bantu language Mbukushu to Castilian, often accompanied by his fellow hippos grunting and mooing. David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter, 20 Feb. 2024 The 1976 uprising in Soweto over the use of Afrikaans in schools touched off 15 months of rioting around the country that claimed more than 600 lives. Brian Murphy, Washington Post, 3 Jan. 2024 These days, the producer still communicates with her mom on a daily basis in her native language of Afrikaans. Jenna Wang, Peoplemag, 7 Nov. 2023 The Soweto Uprising Around 20,000 students from schools in the Soweto area of Johannesburg protested against a mandate that local schools teach in Afrikaans. Foreign Affairs, 28 Dec. 2015 In June of 1976, when Kumi was ten, thousands of black students gathered in Soweto—the famous township near Johannesburg—to protest the government’s decree that Afrikaans would be a compulsory language in public schools. Abe Streep, Outside Online, 13 Mar. 2015

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'Afrikaans.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



borrowed from Afrikaans & Dutch, literally, "of Africa, African," going back to earlier Africaansch, Africaensch, from Latin Āfricānus african entry 2 + Dutch -sch, adjective suffix of appurtenance, going back to Middle Dutch -sc -ish


borrowed from Afrikaans & Dutch — more at afrikaans entry 1

First Known Use


1885, in the meaning defined above


1914, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of Afrikaans was in 1885

Cite this Entry

“Afrikaans.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition


: a language developed from 17th century Dutch and used in the Republic of South Africa
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