Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Used as a form of respectful address in parts of Africa.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Big boss, important person. Not always used as a favorable term.

Etymologies

Swahili, from Arabic 'abūnā, our father : 'abū, bound form of 'ab, father; see אb in Semitic roots + -nā, our.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

  • "Formerly [in the Congo Free State] an ordinary white man was merely called 'bwana' or 'Mzunga'; now the merest insect of a pale face earns the title of 'bwana Mkubwa' [big master]."

    The Negro

  • Sponsor: Try SquareSpace free for 14 days, use the code "bwana" to save 10\% on the life of the account

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  • Today at 16: 59.20 (1 hour ago) umno must have got the inspiration for "ketuanan" from the Swahili term 'bwana' meaning

    Planet Malaysia

  • \par "Geez, this is worse than the jungle drums in those old 'bwana' vids," Becker complained.

    Massage

  • "Call me bwana," he laughed, boat shoes slapping the concrete path.

    White People Problems (part 1)

  • I was assured by a man ducking next to me, They do not want your life, bwana.

    An Interview with Paul Theroux

  • Me - ‘err ok – you da bwana …’ all true … my ancestors were right, ‘white man speaks with forked tongue …’ on March 18, 2010 at 9: 19 pm Bob

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  • Please proceed to the main salon where bwana is waiting to greet you.

    Blood Lite II: Overbite

  • All these words were as foreign to me as, say, gesundheit, roti canai, bwana, merde or halal.

    Alien words in our prose

  • On the surface it's a bwana pulp adventure, but the heart of the story, if you'll excuse that expression today, is the relationship between Tarzan and Jane.

    Tarzan's Valentine

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