Ba·​mbu·​ti ˌbäm-ˈbü-tē How to pronounce Bambuti (audio)
variants or less commonly BaMbuti
plural Bambutis also BaMbutis
: a short-statured hunter-gatherer people consisting of four distinct groups living in the Ituri Forest in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
They speak of the world beyond the plantations as being a fearful place, full of malevolent spirits and not fit to be lived in except by animals and BaMbuti, which is what the village people call the Pygmies.Colin M. Turnbull, The Forest People, 1968
There is no doubt that such pygmies exist—anthropologists have written volumes about them, particularly the Bambuti, who inhabit an extended area of tropical Africa.H. L. Stevenson, UPI Reporter, 2 June 1977
It was persistent Bambuti pygmy descriptions, after all, that set the English colonial officer and naturalist Sir Harry Johnston on to the search that became the greatest triumph of his career, the eventual discovery of the forest giraffe, the okapi.Redmond O'Hanlon, Granta, Spring 1992
The best evidence on this comes from more modern human groups living in small-scale societies with low population densities: the Inuit, Bambuti, Kung Bushmen and others.Julia Goggin Gardiner, New York Times, 27 Aug. 2000

called also Mbuti

Word History

First Known Use

1915, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of Bambuti was in 1915

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Cite this Entry

“Bambuti.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Dec. 2023.

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