bush·​man | \ ˈbu̇sh-mən How to pronounce bushman (audio) \
plural bushmen

Definition of bushman

1 Bushman sometimes offensive, see usage paragraph below
a : a member of any of the indigenous and traditionally hunter-gatherer peoples of southern Africa who are considered the oldest inhabitants of the region : san sense 1 Several dozen Bushmen who had been expelled from the Central Kalahari Game Reserve have returned there under a landmark court ruling giving the traditional hunter-gatherers rights to land they and their ancestors occupied for thousands of years.— Craig Timberg In Southern Africa, there are perhaps 100,000 indigenous people commonly referred to as Bushmen or San—terms typically used by outsiders and, though sometimes considered demeaning, often by the people themselves.— Barry Bearak
2a : woodsman
b chiefly Australia : a person who lives in the bush

Usage of Bushman

Bushman is sometimes avoided as potentially offensive to the people to whom it refers, with San often being used instead. However, usage evidence indicates that not all of these people find Bushman offensive and that they sometimes use it themselves. It continues in widespread use.

First Known Use of bushman

1785, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for bushman

bush entry 1 + man entry 1; in sense 1 after early Afrikaans bossieman, bossiesman, boschjesman, bosjesman

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The first known use of bushman was in 1785

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bushman's poison

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Cite this Entry

“Bushman.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/bushman. Accessed 14 Aug. 2022.

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