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Notes: 1) this vocabulary list was compiled by a beginning student of Chichewa based on class notes, thus it
is neither complete nor guaranteed for accuracy; 2) Chewa words beginning with a hyphen are either verbs
or suffixes; 3) This list may be downloaded from http://nature.berkeley.edu/~alyons/chichewa/.

a (pronoun) he/she/it/they. -bisa (verb) hide (something).


a (verb tense indicator) recently completed. -bisala (verb) hide (yourself).
-a (suffix) of. add noun class character before it. bodza (noun - 5/6, mabodza) lie (untruth). mabodza
-ake (suffix) his/hers. put the appropriate noun- = rumours that have not been verified; malicious
class character before it. gossip.
-ambiri (adjective) very much. mitengo yambiri bongololo (noun - 1a/2) milipede (insect).
(i+ambiri). many trees,. botolo (noun - 5/6) bottle.
-anga (suffix) my. add the noun class character -bowa (verb) be boring, do something boring.
before it. bowa (noun) mushrooms.
-anji (suffix) which. bungwe (noun) organization, committee.
ansanga (noun) friends, my. Diminuative kabungwe = club.
-anu (suffix) your (formal or plural). add the buthu (noun - 5/6) young (marriageable) girl.
noun class character before it. -buula (verb) groan (as in when you're sick).
anyezi (noun - 1a only) onions. bwalo ya ndege (noun - 5/6) airport (lit. field of
anzanu (noun) your friends. possessive built in. airplane).
-ao (suffix) their. put the appropriate noun-class bwalo la mlandu (noun) court (courtyard of case).
character before it. bwanji (question word) how.
apo (adjective) on there. bwato (noun - 3/4) canoe.
atate (noun) father. bwalo (noun - 5/6) clearing, courtyard, empty field
-athu (suffix) our. put the appropriate noun- for a particular purpose such as an airport or
class character before it. soccer field, or discussion. Bwalo wa mpira.
-ba (verb) steal. Soccer field, literally field of ball.
-badwa (verb adjective) be born. bwenzi (noun) friend.
-bala (noun - 5/6) sore, wound. rising-falling -bweza (verb) return, take back.
intonation. -bweretsera (noun - 7/8) bring, lit make return.
-bala (verb) give birth, carry child on back. flat -bwera (verb) come. Don't confuse with bwerera =
intonation. return from.
-balidwa (verb adjective) give birth by. -bwereza (verb) repeat.
bambo (noun - 1/2, abambo) sir, form of -bwezera (verb) return (something) to, hit back,
address for men. Moni Bambo. revenge.
-bangula (verb) roar. -bwerera (verb) return, come back from. don't
banja (noun - 5/6, mabanja) family. Can also confuse with bwera = come.
mean husband or wife in more formal family bwino (noun - 5/6) time afterwards, later. Ndi-ku-
sense. uza-ni bwino. I'll tell you later.
basi (connecting word) only, that's it, and then. bwino bwino (adverb) properly, well.
befu (noun) quality of being out of breath. Use -bwino (adjective) good. <chinthu> cha bwino.
with -li ndi (to have) or -chita (to do). Good thing.
bere (noun - 5/6, mawere) breast. -byala (verb) grow, plant.
-bereka (verb) give birth, strap a child on the -bzala (verb) plant, grow.
back. chakudya cha mmawa (noun - 7/8) breakfast (lit.
Chichewa vocabulary 2

food of morning). chinsinsi (noun - 7/8, zinsinsi) secret.


chaka cha mawa (noun - 7/8) next year (lit. chifukwa (connecting word) because.
year of tomorrow). chipupa (noun - 7/8, zipupa ?) wall. pa chipupa =
chamba (noun - 7/8) pot, Malawian Gold. on the wall.
chaka chatha (chi-a-tha) (noun - 9/10) last -chira (verb) get cured, become better (from
year (lit. year has just ended). illness).
-cha (verb) dawn. Kwatcha (ku-a-cha). It has chibale (noun - 7/8) quality of being a brother or
dawned. Immoralized. relative, brotherhood.
chaka (noun - 7/8, zaka) year. chaka cha 1985 = chiwembu (noun - 7/8) hostility.
year of 1985. chisoti (noun - 7/8, zisoti) hat.
chakudya cha madzulo (noun - 7/8) dinner, lit chilungamo (noun - 7/8) justice, honesty.
food of evening. chi- (suffix) big, huge. chi-munthu. big person.
chakudya (noun - 7/8, ziakudya) food. subsequently use chi as noun class marker.
chabwino (phrase) ok. chiwaya (noun - 7/8, ziwaya) frying pan.
-chala (verb) finger, toe. chitsivu (noun - 7/8) fool, idiot.
chakutichakuti (noun - 7/8) such and such. chipatala (noun - 7/8, zipatala) hospital.
similar to ujeni, but when you don't want to chinthu (noun - 7/8, zinthu) thing. zinthu zambiri.
say what it is. Can also say zakutizakuti. many things.
chamba (noun) dancing. Flat tone. chiuno (noun - 7/8) waist line.
-chedwa (verb adjective) be late, delay. in -chita chiwembu (verb) be hostile.
general uses ma. chikwati (noun - 14) wedding. marriage ceremony.
-chenjera (verb) be clever. chidule (noun - 7/8) brevity, shortness.
-chepesta (verb) make less, little. chida (noun - 7/8, zida) tool (of attacking), weapon.
-cheza (verb) chat, visit. chiwerewere (noun - 7/8) sexual immorality,
-chepa (verb adjective) be little, small. promiscuity. Use with -chita.
chenjezo (noun - 5/6) warning. chiphini (noun - 7/8, zipini) nose ring, body
-chenjeza (verb) warn. piercing.
-chezera (verb) visit someone, spend a long -chita mantha (verb adjective) be afraid. Can also
time doing something at night. use -opa.
chemwali (noun) brother or sister, pick up line chipatso (noun - 7/8, zipatso) a piece of fruit.
in a bar. borrowed from ChiYao. chikopa (noun - 7/8) animal hide.
chikho (noun) gourd. chiwanda (noun) spirit (of the dead).
chiyembekezo (noun - 7/8, ziyembekezo) chikwezo (noun) slope going up, assent.
expectation, hope. chibakhala (noun - 9/10, zibakhala) blow, punch.
chifukwa chiyani (question word) why chikuni (noun - 7/8, zikuni (?)) log, big firewood
(because what). can go at either the beginning stick.
or the end of the sentence. chipinda (noun - 9/10, zipinda) room.
chilankhulo (noun - 7/8, zilankhulo) language. chiyani (question word) what.
chilonda (noun - 7/8, zilonda) sore, wound. -chinjera (verb) be clever, cunning.
chithandizo (noun - 7/8) assistance. chifundo (noun - 7/8) pity.
chitseko (noun - 7/8, zitseko) door. chifuniro (noun - 7/8, zifuniro) desire.
chimodzimodzi (connecting word) lilkewise. chithunzi (noun - 7/8, zithunzi) picture.
chimbudzi (noun - 7/8, zimbudzi) lavoratory. -chititsa mantha (verb) scare (make do fear).
chipangizo (noun - 7/8, zipangizo) tools. chinangwa (noun - 7/8) casava.
-chiritsa (verb) make someone feel better (not chitsa (noun - 7/8, zitsa (?)) stump of a tree.
necessarily by giving medicine). chitambi (noun - 7/8, zitambi) trunk.
chilala (noun) drought, famine. chilolo (noun - 7/8) lap.
-chitka (verb) happen. chilombo (noun - 7/8, zilombo) beast, animal.
chingwe (noun) rope, string. chibwenzi (noun - 7/8) friendship, quality of being a
Chichewa vocabulary 3

friend, boyfriend, girlfriend. chilango (noun - 7/8) punishment.


chi- (prefix) language and customs of. chochita (noun - 7/8, zochita) things to do.
Chichewa; Chingerezi. Language/customs of chonde (exclamation) please.
the chewa; English. Person of Chewa descent chotupa (noun - 7/8) swelling, bump.
= Mchewa, Achewa. chombo (noun - 7/8) ship, sailing vessel.
chipembere (noun - 7/8, zipembere) rhino. -chokera (verb) depart from, come from. Mu-ma-
chipanda (noun - 7/8, zipanda) calabash. chokera kuti?. You are from where?.
-chinjiriza (verb) protect (by blocking -chotsa (verb) remove (lit. make something depart).
movement, like a fence, cage), enclose. choseketsa (noun - 7/8) joke (lit. thing of to make
chinamnwali (noun - 7/8) initiation (ceremony). laugh).
chigoba kumaso (noun - 7/8) mask (lit. of cholembera (noun - 7/8) writing instrument (pen,
frontside of body). pencil), lit. 'thing (omiitted) of writing with'.
chiweto (noun - 7/8, ziweto) farm animal, choncho (connecting word) so.
livestock. -choka (verb) leave, depart.
chidindo (noun - 7/8, zidindo) stamp, footprint. -chulukana (verb) increase (in population growth).
chisoni (noun - 7 only) sadness. Ndi na mva -chuluka (verb adjective) become many, numerous.
chisoni. I felt sad. Use with -mva. chutseko (noun) door.
chidindo cha jombo (noun - 7/8) stamp of a chuma (noun - 7/8) wealth.
boot, footprint. chule (noun - 1a/2, achule) frog.
-chita manyazi (verb) be shy (lit. do shame). -chulukistira (verb) compound (something) for
chidziwitso (noun - 7/8) notice. (someone).
chiwalo (noun - 7/8, ziwalo) organ. -chulukitsa (verb) multiply, compound, make more
-chiza (verb) administer medicine. numerous.
-chita (verb) do. -da (verb adjective) be dark, black. Kwada (ku-a-
chikwi (noun - 5/6, zikwi) one thousand. zikwi da). It's gotten dark. Can also mean 'to hate'.
zikwi = thousands and thousands. -da (verb) hate. A-ma-ndi-da. He hates me.
chimwera (noun - 7/8) watermelon. -dabwa (verb adjective) be surprised, amazed, be
chisangalalo (noun - 7/8) celebration. uncertain.
chigayo (noun - 7/8, zigayo) mill (machine to -dalira (verb) depend on.
grind corn). dambo (noun - 5/6, madambo (?)) swamp,
chitupa (noun - 8 only) documents. marshland.
chiwerengero (noun - 7/8) amount, sum, total. dambwe (noun) place where iniation training takes
chimwemwe (noun - 7/8) joy, happiness. place.
Doesn't have a verb connected to it. Popular -dandaula (verb) worry, be sad.
name. dandaulo (noun - 5/6, madandaulo) worry, anxiety.
chipululu (noun - 7/8) wilderness (open dengu (noun - 5/6) basket.
territory, might have grass trees). variant of dera (noun - 5/6, madera) area, region.
word for forest. -di (suffix) really, indeed. comes at the end of a
chinayi (adjective) 4th. Use of (-a) in front. verb.
chimanga (noun - 7 only) corn. -dinda (verb) stamp (like a postmark or with foot),
chilendo (noun - 7/8) foreignness (lit. pertaining pack (soi).
to a traveler or guest), strangeness. diso (noun - 5/6, maso) eye.
chilpululu cha mchenga (noun - 7/8) dessert -dodometsa (noun - 6 only) make someone startled.
(lit wilderness of sand). -dodoma (verb) taken aback, shocked.
chitati (adjective) 3rd. Use of (-a) in front. dothi (noun) gravel, dirt.
chiwiri (adjective) 2nd. Use of (-a) in front. -dula (verb) cut (all the way through), cut down.
chingerezi (noun) English. -dutsa (verb) cross, go through, cross a street.
chizolowezi (noun - 7/8, zizolowezi) habit. duwa (noun - 5/6, maluwa) flower. Maluwa a ku
chisanu (adjective) 5th. Use of (-a) in front. phuka. Flowers are sprouting.
Chichewa vocabulary 4

-dwala (verb adjective) be ill. -fooka (verb) be weak (often because of illness).
-dwalitsa (verb) make (someone) ill. -fotokoza (verb) explain, fix, repair.
-dwaza (verb) care for (a sick person). -fotokoza ? (verb) explain.
-dwala (verb) be ill. -fula (verb) extract.
-dya mutu (idomatic expression) think deeply -fulumira (verb) hurry.
(lit. eat head). fumbi (noun) dust.
dyana (noun) day before yesterday. -funtha (verb adjective) be crazy.
-dya (verb) eat. funso (noun - 5/6, mafunso) question.
-dya miseche (verb) gossip. -funsira (verb) propose (for marriage).
-dyetsa (verb) feed (an animal or person). -funsa (verb) question.
-dza (verb) come. -funsira (verb) ask (for a reason). Mu ku funsira
-dzandila (verb) stagger. chiyani?. You are asking for what?. Can also mean
dza (verb tense indicator) future tense. to propose.
dzandidzandi (noun) state of staggering back -funtna (verb adjective) become mad, crazy.
and forth. -funa (verb) want.
dzanja (noun - 5/6, ma-anja) hand. fupa (noun - 5/6, mafupa) bone.
dzana (noun) day before yesterday. -fupi (pure adjective) short.
dzenje (noun - 5/6, ma-enje) hole. -futula (verb) break fast (in afternoon, during Lent
-dzera (verb) come for a particular reason. or Ramadan ).
-dzera (verb) go past, go via {someplace}. -futa (verb) erase the blackboard.
dziko lapansi (noun - 5/6) earth, planet, land -fuula (verb) holler, shout.
(lit. country of down). gaga (noun) re-ground corn husks ate during times
dziko (noun) country, land. of no food.
-dziwa (verb) know. galimoto (noun - 5/6, magalimoto) car. fluctuates in
dzino (noun - 5/6, mano) tooth. classes.
dzinalamodza (sp??) (noun) nickname. galu (noun - 1a/2) dog.
dzina (noun - 1/2, maina) name. -ganiza (verb) think.
-dziwitsa (verb) inform (lit. make known). ganizo (noun - 5/6, maganizo) thought.
dzira (noun - 5/6, mazira) egg. -gawa (verb) divide.
dziwe (noun - 5/6) pool. gawo (noun - 5/6, magawo) portion.
-dzola (verb) apply to body (ex. ointment). -gawana (verb) share (lit. divide each other).
dzungu (noun - 5/6, maungu) pumpkin. -gaya (verb) grind.
-dzutsa (verb) wake somebody up (irregular getsi (noun - 5/6, magetsi) electricity.
form of dzuk-its-a). -gogoda (verb) knock (on the door).
dzulo (noun - 5/6) yesterday. -gomera (verb) take one's hat off to someone. Nda
dzuwa (noun - 5/6) sun. ku-gomera-ni. I take my hat off to you.
-dzuka (verb) wake up. -goma (verb) salute, 'take my hat off', acknowledge
-dzudzula (verb) criticize. that someone is good at something.
-enda (verb) walk. -gonja (verb) be conquered, surrender. Ta (ti-a)
-fa (verb) die. gonja. We have lost.
fakitale (noun - 5/6, mafakitale) factory. Can -gonera (verb) sleep with (as in food or dinner).
also be used as class 9 in singular. -gona (verb) sleep, lie down.
-fala (verb) spread (as in rumors, death, etc). -gonjesta (verb) defeat, cause to lose, conquer.
-fanana (verb) be similiar, be like something. -gulitisa (verb) sell. don't confuse with -gula = to
-fiira (verb adjective) be red. buy.
-fika (verb) arrive. gule (noun) dance, performance, usually traditional.
-fisula (verb) break fast. Singular 1a. Plural class 6.
fisi (noun) hyena. -gulitsa (verb) sell.
fodya (noun - 1a only) tobacco. -gula (verb) buy. don't confuse with -gulitsa = to
Chichewa vocabulary 5

sell. deprive someone of something you want but can't


-gumula (verb) demolish, pull down. have. Interchangable with njiru.
-gunda (verb) crash, collide. kale (noun - 5 only) oldness.
gwa (ideophone) solid (connonation: doing kalavulagaga (noun) difficultness (lit to spit up the
great). gaga).
-gwa (verb) fall. kalulu (noun) rabbit.
-gwetsa (verb) drop. kalasi (noun) class.
-gwera (verb) fall into. Ndi na gwera m'dziwe. I -kali (pure adjective) fierce.
fell into the pool. kalata (noun - 9/10) letter.
-gwira (verb) catch, hold on to, grab. -kala (verb) scratch. Don't confuse with khala = to
-gwirizana (verb) get along. stay or live.
-gwiritsa ntchito (verb) use (lit. to make work). -kalamba (verb) grow old.
-gwira ntchito (verb) work (as in a job or kale-kale (noun - 5 only) long time ago.
profession). from -gwira (to catch, grab, hold -kama (verb) milk (i.e. squeeze the cow's tits).
on to) and -chita (to do). kamodzi-kamodzi (adverb) irregularly (lit. once-
hachi (noun) horse. once).
-i (suffix) equivalent of 'er'. mphunzitsi, mlimi. -kambirana (verb) discuss, talk to each other,
teacher, farmer. replace the last 'a' in the verb (kamb-ir-an-a = talk - to - one anther).
with 'i' and add something in the beginning so kamodzi (ka-modzi) (adverb) once.
it fits into a noun class. -kamba (verb) talk, speak.
ife (emphatic pronoun) we. -kangana (verb) quarrel. has the -an- suffix built in
-ika (verb) put. for 'each other'.
-ima (verb) stand, stop (after moving). -kanda (verb) scratch. don't confuse with -konda =
-imba (verb) sing, play an instrument. to like/love.
-imba mluzu (verb) whistle (lit. sing whistle). -kana (verb) refuse, deny.
-imira (verb) stand for. kapena (preposition) or, perhaps.
-ina (adjective) other. mwana ina (u+ina); funso kapolo (noun - 1a/2) slave.
lina (li+ina). other child, other question. add katumba (noun - 1/2) calf (leg).
noun class character before the 'ina', like katatu (adverb) three times.
possessive adjectives. kati (noun - 5 only) middle.
inde (exclamation) yes. katukwi (noun) generic label for charms or
ine (emphatic pronoun) I. medicine to make one strong for combat. Same as
inu (emphatic pronoun) you (plural or formal). mangolomera.
-ipa (verb adjective) be bad. kawirikawiri (adverb) often.
-iwala (verb) forget. kawiri (adverb) twice.
iwe (emphatic pronoun) you (familiar). kaya inu? (phrase) what about you?. from kaya (no
iwo (emphatic pronoun) they. idea) and inu (emphatic you).
iyayi (exclamation) no. -kazinga (verb) fry.
iye (emphatic pronoun) he/she/it. -kazi (pure adjective) female.
-jambula (verb) record, on film or a cassette. kenaka (connecting word) then.
jombo (noun - 9/10) boot. -ketsa (verb) make drip, flow, dribble (often used as
ka- (prefix - 12) indicates small for singular to drip).
noun. kamtengo; kamwana. small tree; small keyala (noun - 9/10) address (mailing). derived
child (baby). functions as a separate class from "care of".
using the 'ka' as a noun class character. keyala (noun - 9/10) military. origin: King's African
kabichi (noun) cabbage. Rifles (KAR).
kabudula (noun) shorts. kha (ideophone) cutting sound.
kaduka (noun - 1a only) jealousy, malicious -khazikika (verb) get settled, established.
envy. Jealousy in the sense that you want to -khala (verb) stay, live (in a place).
Chichewa vocabulary 6

khama (noun - 5 only) persistance, dilliegence. interchangable with kondwera.


-kha (verb) drip, flow, dribble. -konzeka (verb adjective) be prepared.
-khazikitsa (verb) establish. -konza (verb) fix, prepare.
-khoza (verb) be able to. also to do something -kopeka (verb) attracted to, pursuaded to. A ku
right. kopeka <to the idea of going to>. They are getting
kholo (noun - 5/6, makolo) parent. singular attracted to the idea of going to..
means ancestor. -kopa (verb) attract.
-khoma (verb) hammer. ku (verb tense indicator) presently occuring.
-khota (verb) wind (i.e. crooked). ku (preposition) at, to, from. class 17.
-khoma msonkho (verb) pay tax. ku li (phrase) there is/are. kodi ku li msika?. Are
khonde (noun - 5/6) veranda, porch. pa khonde. there markets?. Also written as kuli.
on the porch. -kukuta (verb) munch, eat something that makes a
-khoza (verb) do something right. Indee, mwa lot of noise. A ku ku kukuta ni. He's munching
(mu-a) khoza. Yes, you have got it right. also you.
to be able to. -kula (verb adjective) become big.
kholowa (noun - 1a only) sweet potato leaves. -kulu (pure adjective) big.
khola (noun - 5/6) corral, place where you keep -kumbuka (verb) remember.
livestock. -kumbutsa (verb) remind.
-khoza (verb) be able to (do something). -kumba (verb) dig, excavate.
khoswe (noun - 9/10, khoswe) rat. kuno (adjective) here at. ku-no.
khomo (noun - 5/6, makomo) entrance. kunsi (adjective) underneath. ku is actually part of
-khulupirika (verb) be dependable. the word.
-khumbira (verb) admire, covet. kunja (noun) outside, weather, atmosphere.
khutu (noun - 5/6, makutu) ear. kuti (connecting word) that. a na nena kuti.. he said
-khudza (verb) touch, touch upon, concern. that.. rising-falling intonation (as opposed to kuti
khumi (noun - 5/6, makumi) ten. = where).
-khumba (verb) desire. kuti (question word) where. ku-ti, flat intonation (as
khungu (noun - 5/6) skin. Intonation: low-high- opposed to kuti = that).
low. kwambiri (phrase) very much.
khungu (noun - 5 only) blindness. Intonation: -kwawa (verb) crawl.
high-high-low. -kwata (verb) make love.
khwimbi (noun - 5/6) a large but countable -kwatiwa (verb) get married. Passive form. Use
number. when subject is female. See also -kwatira = marry
-kocheza (verb) dock. (active form).
-kodza (verb) urinate. -kwatitsa (verb) marry (perform wedding
kodi (question word) indicates a question. ceremony).
kodi (connecting word) that. a na nena kodi.. he -kwatira (verb) marry, web. Active form. Use when
said that.. the subject is a man. See also -kwatiwa = get
-koka (verb) smoke, pull (inhale). married.
-kola (verb) trip (somebody), catch in a trap. -kwemba (verb) smoke pot.
-komalira (verb) take lunch. -kwera (verb) climb up, ride.
-komana (verb) meet. kwenikweni (adverb) really.
-koma (verb adjective) taste good, be good. -kweza (verb) raise.
koma (connecting word) but. -kwiya (verb) get angry.
-konda (verb) like, love. mostly uses 'ma' as -kwiyitsa (verb) anger (lit to make angry).
verb tense indicator. -kwitisa (verb) annoy, make angry.
-kongola (verb adjective) be beautiful. la chitati (noun - 5/6) Wednesday, litterally 'day of
-konzekera (verb adjective) be prepared for. third" with day (tsiku) omitted.
-kondwa (verb adjective) be happy, rejoice. la chiwiri (noun - 5/6) Tuesday, literally 'day of
Chichewa vocabulary 7

2nd' with tsiku omitted. -lingana (verb) be equal to.


la chinayi (noun - 5/6) Thursday, literally 'day -lira (verb) cry.
of 4th' with day (tsiku) omited. liti (question word) when.
la chisanu (noun - 5/6) Friday, literally day of lolemba (noun - 5/6) Monday, litterally 'day of
5th with day (tsiku) omitted. writing' with tsiku omitted.
-labadira (verb) pay attention, get concerned -lola (verb) allow, grant permission.
about. -longosola (verb) explain, fix, repair.
-lakwa (verb) make a mistake. -lonjera (verb) greet.
lalikulu (noun - 5/6) bigness (?). -londola (verb) follow, get something right.
lalanje (noun - 5/6, malalanje) oranges. -longoloza (verb) make someone involved with
laMulungu (noun - 5/6) Sunday, litterally day gabbing or yacking.
of God. -longolola (verb) yack, never know when to shut up.
-landira (verb) receive. loto (noun - 5/6, maloto) dream. Usually just use
-langidwa (verb) get punished. plural form.
-langa (verb) punish. -lota (verb) dream.
-landa (verb) take away, snatch. Often forcibly, -lowa (verb) enter.
when the person does not want to give. loweruka (noun - 5/6) Saturday, litterally day of
-langiza (verb) point. knocking off with day (tsiku) omitted.
-langa (verb) advise, give advice. Also means to ludzu (noun - 5/6) thirst. class 5 singular only.
punish. -lumbira (verb) swear (as in making an oath or
-lankhula (verb) speak. Interchangable with - promise).
yankhula. -lumpha (verb) jump.
-laula (verb adjective) be obscene. -luma (verb) bite.
-lavula (verb) spit. -lungama (verb adjective) be honest, just.
-ledzera (verb) get drunk. m'malo mwa (mu-a) (connecting word) instead (lit.
-lefuka (verb adjective) be weak (from in place of).
overwork). ma (verb tense indicator) habitual.
-lefula (verb) weaken (physically) someone. madzi (noun - 5/6, madzi) water. not in class 5,
-leka (verb) quit. always plural.
-lela (verb) bring up children, raise kids. madzulo (noun) afternoon to early evening.
-lemba (verb) write. mafuta (noun - 6 only) oil, lotions.
-lemekeza (verb) respect, honor. magazi (noun - 6 only) blood.
-lemera (verb adjective) be rich. makamaka (adverb) especially.
-lengeza (verb) announce, broadcast. -maka (verb) mark.
-lenga (verb) create. makamaka (exclamation) especially.
-lephera (verb) fail. maluwamaluwa (noun) colorfulness (lit. flowers
lero (noun) today. flowers).
leza (ideophone) God in the form of lightning. malire (noun - 6 only) boundary(s).
-li ndi (verb) have. malangizo (noun - 6 only) instructions, directions.
-libe (phrase) not have (irregular). Ndi libe maliseche (noun - 6 only) nakedness. Mwana a li
assignment yanga (i-anga) chifukwa ndi libe maliseche. Child is naked. Use with -li.
printer. Ku Maryland ku libe mikango. I do malungo (noun) fever, malaria.
not have my assignment because I do not have maliro (noun) funeral.
a printer. Maryland does not have lions. use malango (noun - 6 only) advice.
noun class character before. malonda (noun - 6 only) trade, merchandise.
lichero (noun) winnowing pan. malaulo (noun) something or event very unusual,
likulu (noun - 5/6) headquaters, capital. extraordinary, improper, and omnimous. Ex: solar
-lima (verb) farm, cultivate. eclipse.
-limbikira (verb) work hard. -maliza (verb) complete, finish. Interchangable with
Chichewa vocabulary 8

tsiriza. mbalala (noun - 5/6) nuts.


malonje (noun - 6 only) greetings. mbale (long m) (noun - 1/2) brother, relative, plate.
malo (noun - 6 only, malo) place. long m - brother, relative, class 1/2.
-manga (verb) build/construct, arrest, tie up. mbeu (noun - 9/10, mbeu) crop, seed.
-manga ulendo (verb) setting out for a journey mbewa (noun - 9/10, mbewa) mouse.
(lit tying a journey). mbiri (noun - 9/10) history.
mankhwala (noun - 5/6) medicine. Use with - mbiya (noun - 9/10) big pots used for brewing beer.
mwa=drink, not -dya=eat, even if pills. mbidzi (noun - 9/10) zebra.
mantha (noun - 6 only) fear. mbumba (noun) all of the nephews, neices, younger
manyazi (noun - 6 only) shame. -chita manyazi. siblings, etc. that an uncle who is nkhoswe is
to be shy. responsible for.
manda (noun - 6 only) grave; cemetary. mbuzi (noun - 9/10, mbuzi) goat.
mangolomera (noun) generic label for charms mbuyo (noun - 9/10) back, behind.
or medicine to make one strong for combat. mchira (noun - 3/4, michira) tail.
Same as katukwi. mchimwene (noun - 1/2, achmwene) brother,
mapeto (noun) conclusion, ending. standard way of politely addressing someone you
maso (noun - 6 only) face (lit. eyes). don't know.
masikuonse (noun) ordinariness (lit. all the mchenga (noun - 3/4) sand, beach.
days). Use with -a. mdani (noun - 1/2, adani) enemy, opponent.
masana (noun - 3/4) noon, 10:30 - 2:30. rising mdyerekezi (noun) devil.
falling intonation. may also be pronounced as -menya (verb) hit.
msana (rising falling intonation) but not to be -menya nkhondo (verb) make war (lit. hit war).
confused with msana (high high low -mera (verb) grow, as in plants.
intonation) = back. -meta (verb) shave.
masano (noun - 6 only) grave, graveyard. -meza (verb) swallow.
-masula (verb) untie, release (from custody). mfedwa (noun) someone who is in mourning.
matchona (noun) one who gets stuck in a mfisulo (noun) breakfast.
foreign country. mfiti (noun - 9/10, mfiti) someone who practices
matenda (noun - 6 only) illness. witchcraft.
matsiku onse (noun - 6 only) all the days. mfuti (noun) gun.
mau (noun) word. mfumu (noun - 1/2, afumu) chief.
mavalo (noun) private parts. mgaiwa (noun) flour you get when corn is ground
mawa (noun) tomorrow. with husks (skin of the kernal or endosperm).
mayo (exclamation) ouch!. When in mourning More nutrutional than the other type of corn flour,
people say, "Mayo ine". but less respected.
mayi (noun - 1/2, amayi) madame, form of mgonero (noun) dinner. Also refers to communion
address for women. Moni mayi. (last supper).
maziko (noun) foundations. mimba (noun) stomach, pregnancy.
mbala (noun) thief. miseche (noun) gossip. To use as verb use -dya =
mbandakucha (noun) early morning before eat.
sunrise, after 1st to 3rd rooster. -mitsidwa (verb) extinguish.
mbawala (noun - 9/10) deer. mkazi (noun - 1/2, akazi) woman, mother, wife.
mbadwo (noun - 3/4) generation. mkati (connecting word) inside. must use 'mu' noun
mbali (noun - 9/10, mbali) side. class character subsequently.
mbale (short m) (noun - 9/10, mbale) plate. mkangano (noun) quarrel, argument.
mbatata (noun - 9/10, mbatata) potato. default mkango (noun - 3/4, mikango) lion.
is sweet potato. Irish potatoes = mbatata zi-a mkaka (noun - 3/4) milk. class 3 only, never plural.
<ireland>. mkondo (noun - 3/4, mikondo) spear.
mbalame (noun - 9/10) bird. mkodzo (noun - 3/4) urine.
Chichewa vocabulary 9

mkono (noun - 3/4, mikono) arm. mpanda (noun - 3/4, mipanda) fence.
mkulu (noun - 1/2) elder sibling of same sex, mphindi (noun - 9/10, mphindi) minute.
guy. mphwayi (noun - 9/10) procrastination. use with -
mkuluwiko (noun) ideomatic expression. chita.
mkuja (noun) day after tomorrow. mphira (noun - 9/10) rubber.
mkwiyo (noun - 3/4) anger. mphamvu (noun - 9/10) strength.
mlato (noun) bridge. mphenzi (noun) thunder.
mlandu (noun - 3/4, milandu) case, suit (legal). mpheto (noun) private parts.
Can be trivial or serious. mphika (noun - 3/4) cooking pots (smaller size).
mlatho (noun - 3/4) bridge. mphatso (noun - 9/10, mphatso) gift.
mlamu (noun - 1/2, alamu) brother or sister in- mphepo (noun) wind.
law. mphunzitsi (noun - 1/2, aphunzitsi) teacher.
mlenje (noun) hunter. mphini (noun) tatoo.
mlengalenga (noun) sky. mpira (noun - 3/4) ball. Don't confuse with mphira
mlendo (noun - 1/2) traveler, visitor, guest. = rubber.
mlongo (noun) sibling of opposite sex. mpoto (direction word) north. precede with 'ku'.
mlonda (noun) watchman. mpunga (noun - 3/4) rice.
Mluya (noun - 1/2, Aluya) Arab. msanga (noun - 3/4) quickness. Like tsopano, can
mluzu (noun - 3/4) whistle. use with -a or by itself.
mmacheza (noun) time from 12:00 midnight to msala (noun - 3/4, misala) lust/madness. msala =
3:30 am, until first rooster. lust; misala = madness.
mmawa (noun) early morning, after sunrise. msampha (noun - 3/4, misampha) trap.
don't confuse with mawa = morning. msana (noun - 3/4, misana) back (anatomy). don't
mmawa mawa (noun) early morning, 3rd confuse with msana = noon time; intonation goes
rooster til sunrise. Will also hear 'mmamawa' up on 2nd syllable.
(drop first 'wa'). msewu (noun - 3/4, misewu) road.
mmero (adjective) down, inside the throat. msewy (noun) road.
mmphawi (noun - 1/2) poor person. msika (noun - 3/4, misika) market.
mng'ono (noun - 1/2) younger sibling of same msilikali (noun - 1/2, asilikali) soldiers.
sex. msipu (noun - 5/6, masipu) green grass for grazing.
mnkhwala (noun - 3/4) substance that enables msonkhano (noun - 3/4, misonkhano) meeting,
you to excel (herb, charm, etc.). don't confuse conference.
with mankhwala = medicine. msodzi (noun - 1/2, asodzi) fisherman.
mnkhwani (noun - 3 only) pumpkin leaves. msomali (noun - 3/4) nail.
mnyamata (noun - 1/2, anymata) boy. mtambo (noun - 3/4) cloud.
mnyenyo (noun) break. Ndi li pa mnyenyo. I am mtengo (noun - 3/4, mitengo) tree, or price. mtengo
on break. = tree => rising-falling intonation, mtengo = price
-modzi (suffix) one. malo amodzi. one place. => steady intonation.
add the noun class suffix before. mtedza (noun - 5/6, mitedza) groundnuts
moni (phrase) hello, typical form of greeting (collectively). In plural form means different types
when meeting someone for the first time. of nuts.
Moni mayi. Moni bambo. mtenthandevu (noun) tea or coffee (lit. burn the
monga (connecting word) such as.., like. beard)).
moto (noun - 3/4) fire. usually no class 4. mtendere (noun) peace.
mowa (noun) beer. always in class 3, never mthunzi (noun) shade (of a tree).
plural. mtima (noun - 3/4, mitima) heart. rising falling
moyo (noun - 3/4) life. intonation.
mpando (noun - 3/4, mipando) chair. mtolo (noun - 3/4, mitolo) bundle.
mpaka (connecting word) until. mtondo (noun - 3/4, mitondo) mortar (pounding
Chichewa vocabulary 10

receptacle). rising falling intonnaton; don't mwala (noun - 3/4) stone, rock.
confuse with mtondo -falling intonnation = 2 mwambi (noun - 3/4, miyambi) proverb.
days from now. mwaswera bwanji? (phrase) How did you spend
mtsikama (noun - 1/2, atsikama) girl. the time?. Said after you just say the person a little
mtsuko (noun - 3/4, mitsuko) water pot, usually while ago. mu+a = mwa, recently done.
clay. mwana (noun - 1/2, ana) child. mu + ana = mwana.
mtsinje (noun - 3/4, mitsinje) river. mwawi (noun - 3/4) good luck, opportunity. mwawi
mtsitso (noun) slope going down. wanga (u-anga). my opportunity.
mtsogoleri (noun - 1/2, atsogoleri) leader. mwa chidule (adverb) in brief.
mtundu (noun - 3/4, mitundu) type, kind. mwera (direction word) south. precede with 'ku'.
mtundu wanji (question word) which type. mwezi wa (u-a) mawa (noun - 3/4) next month (lit.
mu li bwanji? (phrase) how are you?. month of tomorrow).
mu (pronoun) you. mwezi watha (u-a-tha) (noun - 3/4) last month (lit.
mu ma chokera? (phrase) where are you from? month has past). could mean last month or the
(originally, regionally). Answer: Ndi ma month has ended depending on intonation.
chokera ku Florida. Variant: mu ku chokera? Mwenechindongwa (noun - 5/6) mphunzitsi wanga
(where are you from right now?). nickname.
mu (preposition) in. mwezi (noun - 3/4, miyezi) moon, month. mwezi wa
mudzi (noun - 3/4, midzi) village. (u-a) June = month of June.
mulungu (noun - 3/4, milungu) god. use class 1 mwendo (noun - 3/4, miyendo) leg. mwendo = mu +
when refering to Christain God. endo; miyendo = mi + endo.
-muna (pure adjective) male. mwini (noun) owner.
muno (adjective) here in. mzimu (noun) spirit, soul.
munda (noun - 3/4) garden. mzinda (noun - 3/4, mizinda) city.
munthu (noun - 1/2, anthu) person. mzungu (noun - 1/2, azungu) white person.
musi (noun - 3/4, misi) pestle (pounding stick). na (verb tense indicator) past tense.
mutu (noun - 3/4, mitu) head. -nama (verb) tell lies.
muzu (noun - 3/4, mizu) root. -namiza (verb) deceive, lie, cheat. Most Chichewa
-mva (verb) feel. speakers don't make a distinction between
-mva (verb) hear. cheating and decieving.
-mveka (noun - 9/10) be heard, well known. namwali (noun - 1a/2, anamwali) maiden, initiate.
-mvera (verb) listen (to). nanga tsopano (phrase) what about now.
mvula (noun - 9/10) rain. nanga (phrase) and what about.. (connecting
mwamuna (noun - 1/2, awamuna) man. Used question word). nanga inu?. what about you?.
when you have to distinguish between men -nayi (suffix) four.
and women. Normally you can just use ndani (question word) who.
munthu and people will assume you're talking ndaswera bwino (phrase) I passed the time well.
about a man. ndemanga (noun - 9/10) comment.
mwa chitsanzo (connecting word) for example. ndevu (noun - 9/10, ndevu) beard.
mwakuti (also pronounced moti) (connecting ndege (noun - 9/10) aeroplane.
word) such that (in a manner that). ndi (connecting word) and.
mwano (noun - 14) rudeness, insolence. ndio za masamba (noun - 9/10) vegetables
mwamba (noun) heaven. (condiments of greens).
mwambo (noun - 3/4, miyambo) traditions, ndithu (exclamation) really, truly.
culture, customs pertaining to, rules. ndiwo/ndio (noun - 9/10, ndiwo/ndio) condiment
mwadzidzidzi (adverb) suddenly. you eat with nsima. ex: fish, greens, beans, meat,
Mwa dzuka bwanji? (phrase) How did you etc.
wake up?. mwa = mu + a. ndi (pronoun) I.
-mwa (verb) drink. ndi li bwino (phrase) I am fine. variants: ndi li
Chichewa vocabulary 11

bwinonso (I am fine also); ndi li bwino nkhosa (noun - 9/10, nkhosa) sheep.
pang'ono (I am a little bit fine). nkhuku (noun - 9/10, nkhuku) chicken.
ndinu (ndi inu) (phrase) it's you. nkhondo (noun - 9/10) war.
ndine (ndi-ine) (phrase) it's me. use low tone on nkhanza (noun - 9/10) cruelty.
ndi. nkhalango (noun - 9/10) forest (which has trees).
ndipo (connecting word) and (in the sense of nkhata (noun - 9/10) head pad (for carrying things
connecting two whole expressions). on head). Made of grass or rolled up rag.
ndowa (ndoo) (noun - 9/10) bucket or pail, nkhwangwa (noun - 9/10) ax.
metal. nkhonya (noun - 9/10, nkhonya) fist, blow.
ndudu (noun - 9/10) cigarette. nkhomaliro (noun) lunch.
-nena (verb) say. -no (suffix) shows proximity to speaker.
-ng'ono (pure adjective) small. nsanje (noun - 9/10, nsanje) jealousy. Mu li ndi
ng'oma (noun - 9/10) drum. nsanje. or Mu ku chita nsanje. You have jealousy
-ng'amba (verb) tear. (you are jealous). You are doing jealousy.
-ng'anima (verb) flash, flicker. Jealousy, but not in the sense of wanting to hurt
-ngati (suffix) how many. the person who has the thing. Most commonly
ngakhale (connecting word) although, even used with human relations.
though. nsalu (noun) cloth. Comes from the Indian word
ngati (connecting word) if, like. as in this is like 'sari'.
that. nsapato (noun - 9/10, nsapato) shoe.
ngombe (noun - 9/10, ngombe) cow. nsabwe (noun - 9/10, nsabwe) louse, lice.
-ni (suffix) command indicator. pitani. (you) go nsawa (noun - 5/6) nuts.
- command. nsima (noun) corn porridge.
njala (noun - 9/10) hunger. class 5 singular only nsomba (noun) fish.
?. Can't use -chita form like you can with -nso (suffix) too, also. ndi li bwinonso; inenso. I am
mwawi = good luck. fine also; me also.
njati (noun - 9/10) buffalo. ntchito ya kalavulagaga (noun) hard work (lit.
-njenjenera (verb) shake, tremble. work that gets all the food out of you).
njinga (noun - 9/10, njinga) bicycle. ntchafu (noun - 9/10, ntchafu) thigh.
njinga ya kapalasa (noun) bicycle. ntchentche (noun - 9/10, ntchentche) fly.
njiwa (noun) dove. nthano (noun - 9/10) story (as in story telling).
njira (noun) path, way. nthenda (noun - 9/10, nthenda) disease.
njiru (noun - 9/10) jealousy, malicious envy. nthenga (noun) feathers.
Jealousy in the sense that you want to deprive nthambi (noun - 9/10) branch.
someone of something you want but can't nthawi (noun - 9/10, nthawi) time.
have. Interchangable with kaduka. nthochi (noun) banana.
njovo (noun) elephant. nthabwala (noun) humor.
-njoya (verb) enjoy. nthaka (noun - 9/10) soil.
njoka (noun - 9/10) snake. nyanda (noun) fibre gotten from bark of trees used
nkhani (noun - 9/10) news, story, issue. to make clothing.
nkhumba (noun - 9/10) pig. nyali (noun - 9/10, nyali) lamp.
nkhuni (noun - 9/10, nkhuni) firewood. nyama (noun - 9/10, nyama) meat, animal.
nkhoswe (noun - 9/10, nkhoswe) elder family -nyaditsa (verb) make proud.
member who bears responsibility for siblings, -nyamula (verb) carry (general), lift.
neices, etc. nyanja (noun - 9/10, nyanja) sea, lake, ocean.
nkhalamba (noun - 9/10) elderly, senior -nyada (verb adjective) be proud.
citizens, old people. nyanga (noun - 9/10, nyanga) horn, tusk, ivory.
nkhali (noun - 9/10) cooking pot for nsima. -nyamuka (verb) get up, stand up.
nkhope (noun) face. -nyenya (verb) goof off, take time from work when
Chichewa vocabulary 12

you're not supposed to. -palasa (verb) row.


nyemba (noun - 9/10, nyemba) beans. -palamula (verb) do something for which you're
nyengo (noun - 9/10) time (in sense of a likely to get criticized or rebuked.
season). pamodzi (adverb) together.
-nyezimira (verb) twinkle, shine intermittantly. panja (noun) outside, outdoors (of some reference
May also hear -nyezima. point).
-nyenga (verb) seduce, deceive, proposing to a panthawi ya (preposition) during.
woman for a date or relationship. A ma -panda (verb) lack, be without.
nyenga akazi ambiri. He proposes to a lot of -panga (verb) make.
women. -pangidwa (verb) made by, crafted by.
nyerere (noun - 9/10, nyerere) ant. pansi pa (adjective) below.
nyimbo (noun - 9/10, nyimbo) song. pansi (adjective) down, down on the ground. pa is
nyonga (noun - 9/10) stamina. actually part of the word.
nyundo (noun) hammer. pang'ono pang'ono (adverb) slowly.
nyumba (noun) house. pang'ono (adjective) little.
nzeru (noun) intelligence. -pata (verb) get.
-odila (verb) say 'odi-odi'. patali ndi (preposition) far from (something).
odi odi (exclamation) announcement of -patsa (verb) give (to someone). 'to' built in. See
presense walking up to a house. also -pereka = hand over.
-ola (verb) rot. patali (adjective) far away.
ola (noun - 5/6, maola) hour. pempho (noun - 5/6) request.
-olotsa (verb) make something cross. -pemphera (verb) pray, beg/request for or from.
-oloka (verb) cross (road, river, etc.). -pempha (verb) request, beg.
-ona (verb) see. pemphero (noun - 5/6, mapemphero) prayer.
-onetsa (verb) show. pendapenda (noun) act of trying to balance on one
-oneka (verb) appear, be visible. leg, going back and forth, or rocking back in forth
-onjeza (verb) add. in a canoe.
-ononga (verb) damage. -pendama (verb) lean, like when you're losing your
-onse (suffix) all. balance.
-opa (verb) be afraid. -pepuka (verb adjective) become easy (lit. become
-opsa (verb) make afraid, intimidate. light).
osati (connecting word) not (as in that not that). pepani (phrase) sorry.
-otcha (verb) roast on open fire, barbeque, burn. pepala (noun - 5/6, mapepala) paper.
pa (preposition) on. pa mpando pa li chisoti. On -pereka (verb) hand over (something).
the chair is a hat. uses 'pa' as a subsequent -peta (verb) winnow.
noun-class character. -peza (verb) find.
pa-no (adjective) here on. phazi (noun - 5/6, maphazi (?)) foot.
-pachika (verb) hang. -pha (verb) kill.
pafupi (adjective) near by. phewa (noun - 5/6, mapewa) shoulder.
pafupi ndi (preposition) near (something). phiri (noun - 5/6, mapiri) mountain.
pakati (connecting word) between, on the -phika (verb) cook.
middle of. Pakati pa principal ndi student. phunziro (noun - 5/6, maphunziro) lesson, course.
Between the principal and student. must use -phunzitsa (verb) teach.
'pa' noun class character subsequently. -phunzira (verb) learn.
pakatikati (direction word) central. precede -phuka (verb) sprout.
with 'ku'. phwiti (noun) robin/finch.
-paka (verb) smear, paint, brush. -phweka (verb) be easy.
palibe kanthu (idomatic expression) there is no phwetekere (noun - 1a only) tomatoes.
small thing, that's nothing, doesn't matter. phwando (noun - 5/6, maphwando (?)) feast.
Chichewa vocabulary 13

piches (noun - 5 only) peaches. sewero nkhonya (noun - 5 only) boxing.


-pinda (verb) bend, twist. -sewera (verb) play.
-pita pansi (verb) go on foot, scheme sewero (noun - 5/6, masewero) game.
maliciously (behind one's back). -silira (verb) admire, covet. No negative
-pita (verb) go (to a place). connotations.
pitani bwino (phrase) go well. -simikiza (verb) assure.
-pitiriza (verb) continue, proceed (as in working -sinja (verb) pound.
on a project). -sinkhasinkha (verb) ponder, search for answers.
-pitirira (verb) go past. -sintha (verb) change.
-ponda (verb) step on. sindano (noun - 9/10, zingano) needle.
-posa (verb) surpass, exceed. -siyira (verb) leave for (someone).
posachedwa (adjective) soon (lit. not late). -siyanasiyana (verb adjective) be different, various.
-psya (verb) be burn, ripen. -siyana (verb) differ.
-pukuta (verb) dry off by rubbing, remove -sodza (verb) fish (in general).
liquid from, sponge dry. -sokoneza (verb) confuse.
-puma (verb) breathe, rest. ti ku puma. we are -soka (verb) sew.
breathing. sompho (noun - 9/10) adze, small axe for carving.
-pusa (verb) be silly. -sonkha (verb) light up (a fire), make a contribution.
-puta (verb) provoke. -sonkhana (verb) gather, congregate.
-pweteka (verb) hurt, ache. -sowa (verb) miss something, disappear.
sabata (noun - 9/10, sabata) week (origin -soweka (verb adjective) be missing.
sabbath). -sukusula (verb) wash the face.
-saka (verb) hunt. sukulu (noun) school.
-sakasaka (verb) search for something. -sunga (verb) keep.
-salala (verb adjective) be smooth. -sungira (verb) keep for someone.
samba (noun - 5/6, masamba) leaf. -sungunula (verb) melt (something).
-samuka (verb) move from (ku + location). -suta (verb) smoke.
-samukira (verb) move to (ku + location). -suzumira (verb) take a peak, peak at something.
-sambira (verb) swim. -swa (verb) smash, break.
-samala (verb) take care. -sweka (verb adjective) be broken (by no one in
-samba (verb) bathe. particular).
-sanu (suffix) five. -swedwa (verb adjective) be broken (implies you
-sanza (verb) vommit, throw up. know the cause). A na swedwa ndi mwana. It was
-sankha (verb) choose, select. broken by the child.
-sangalatsa (verb) amuse, please. use mostly -tafuna (verb) chew.
with 'a'. -tali (pure adjective) long, tall.
-sangalala (verb adjective) be happy, rejoice. -tamba (verb) dance (of witches, usually naked).
-sasa (verb) be somewhat rancid but not quite -tamanga (verb) laugh.
rotten. tambala (noun) rooster.
-sasa (verb) brush off. -tanthauza (verb) mean.
satana (noun) devil. tanaposi (noun) turnip leaves.
-sautsa (verb) cause problems, hardship. tanthauzo (noun - 5/6) meaning.
-sauka (verb) experience problems, hardship, -tani (verb) do what, irregular, 'what' built in,. Mu
poverty. ku tani?. You are doing what?.
-seka (verb) laugh. tar (noun) tarmac.
-seketsa (verb) amuse, make somebody laugh. -tatu (suffix) three.
-seleula (verb) joke, kid. -taya (verb) lose.
-sema (verb) carve. -tayika (verb adjective) be lost.
-senza (verb) carry on head. -tchuka (verb adjective) be famous.
Chichewa vocabulary 14

-tcha (verb) setting a trap. ku tcha msampha. to ti- (prefix - 13) indicate small for a plural noun.
set a trap. can also mean to call or name. -tikita (verb) rub.
-tcha (verb) call, name. Mzinda wa Chicago timati (noun - 5/6, matimati) tomato.
anthu a-ma-u-tcha 'Windy City'. City of tirigu (noun - 9/10, tirigu) wheat.
Chicago, people call it Windy City. -tola (verb) pick up, find (something lying on the
-tchera (verb) set a trap for. Ndi-na-ku-tchera-ni ground).
msampha. I set a trap for you (either on your -tola phunziro (verb) pick up a lesson, learn
behalf or to get you). something the hard way.
-tema (verb) cut (probably not all the way -tola mwana (idomatic expression) have an
through). illegitimate child (lit. pick up a child).
-tembenuza (verb) turn something around. -topa (verb adjective) be tired.
-tembenuka (verb) turn (yourself) around. tsalani bwino (phrase) remain well. said when
-tentha (verb adjective) be hot. parting with someone.
-tentha (verb) burn. -tsala (verb) remain (behind). Tsalani bwino.
-tenga (verb) take. Remain well (said when parting). Can be used in
-teteza (verb) defend. the general sense of remaining behind in your
-thandiza (verb) help, assist. work, progress, life.
-thawa (verb) escape (from a location), run -tsanzika (verb) take leave.
away. don't need a preposition, 'from' built in. tsamba (noun - 5/6, masamba) leaf.
-tha (verb) finish. -tsata (verb) follow. Will also hear -tsatira.
-tha (verb) be able to do something. tsatane-tsatane (adverb) in detail.
-thamanga (verb) run. -tsetsereka (verb) coast, go at top speed.
-thamangitsa (verb) chase. -tseka (verb) shut.
-thawira (verb) escape (to a location). -tsekula (verb) open.
thelele (noun) okra. can also mean greens in tsiku ndi tsiku (noun - 5/6) every day.
general. -tsirika (verb) cast a charm or spell to protect
thengo (noun) bush. something.
-thira (verb) pour. More common variation = - -tsitsa (verb) lower.
tsira. -tsira (verb) pour. Other less common variation -
-thima (verb) extinguish (lights, a fire, etc.), get thira.
drunk. Nda thima. I have extinguished (my -tsiriza (verb) finish, complete. Interchangable with
senses = gotten drunk). Can also mean to maliza.
extinguish the senses (i.e.get drunk). -tsira ndemanga (verb) comment (lit. pour
-thokoza (verb) express thanks. comment).
thope (noun - 5/6) mud. tsiku lo kumbukira kwa balidwa (noun - 5/6)
thonje (noun - 5 only) cotton. birthday.
thumba la pa msana (noun) backpack (lit. bag -tsimikiza (verb) gaurantee, ensure.
of on back). -tsika (verb) descend, come down.
thumba (noun - 5/6, mathumba) bag. tsiku (noun - 5/6, masiku) day.
thupi (noun) body. tsitsi (noun - 5/6, masitsi ??) hair.
thukuta (noun - 5/6) sweat. tsoka (noun - 5/6) bad luck, misfortune.
thunthu (noun - 5/6) whole. tsogolo (noun - 5/6, matsogolo (?)) front.
-thyola (verb) break, snap (into two pieces). -tsogola (verb) take the lead, go ahead.
-thyoka (verb) be in state of having broke (a tsopano (noun - 5/6) now.
bone). Nda thyoka myendo. I am in the state -tukwana (verb) swear (at someone).
of having a broken leg. tulo (noun - 5 only) sleep. Ndi li tulo. I am having a
ti ku puma (phrase) we are breathing. response problem staying awake. Some people put it in
to 'muli bwanji?'. class 5.
ti (pronoun) we. -tulukamo (verb) exit.
Chichewa vocabulary 15

-tuluka (verb) exit. uyu (adjective) this. uyu bambo; bambo uyu. this
-tulutsa (verb) bring into the open, pull out man. can come either before or after the noun.
(make something go out, exit, make tuluka). -uza (verb) tell.
-tumiza (verb) send (something). -vala (verb) wear, dress.
-tuma (verb) send (somone on an errand). -vina (verb) dance.
-tumiza kalata (verb) send a letter. -vomera (verb) agree, assent.
-tunga (verb) scoop, draw (as a liquid). -vula (verb) undress.
-tupa (verb) swell. vuma (direction word) east. precede with 'ku'.
ubale (noun - 14) brotherhood. vuto (noun - 5/6, mavuto) trouble, problem.
uchi (noun - 14) honey. -vuta (verb) cause problems, give problems. similar
udzu (noun) grass. to vutitsa.
udzudzu (noun - 14) mosquitoes. -vutitsa (verb) make problems, create problems.
ufa (noun - 14) flour. similar to vuta.
ufiti (noun - 3/4) witchcraft. a person who -vutika (verb) experience problems.
practices witchcraft = mfiti. -vuula (verb) take something (saturated) out of
ujeni (connecting word) uummm (filler word). water.
ukapolo (noun - 14) slavery. -vuwa (verb) fish with nets.
-uka (verb) get up. variant and interchangable -wala (verb) shine (continuously), appear bright.
with -dzuka. wankhanza (u-a-kunkhanza) (noun - 7/8) cruel
uko (adjective) over there. person (lit. person -omitted- of to be cruel).
ukonde (noun - 14) net. -wawa (verb) ache, hurt.
ukwati (noun - 14) marriage, state of being -wedza (verb) fish with hooks.
married. -weruka (verb) knock off (work).
ulalo (noun - 14/6, maulalo) bridge. -werenga (verb) read, count.
ulesi (noun - 14) laziness. use with -chita. -weta (verb) herd.
ulendo (noun - 14) journey. -wiri (suffix) two.
ulemu (noun - 14) respect. To show respect = - -wisi (pure adjective) unripe, green.
chita ulemu (or -lemekeza). wophunzira (munthu u-a-kuphunzira) (verb
ulimi (noun - 14) agriculture. adjective) student (lit. person of to learn).
-ulula (verb) reveal. wophunzira (noun - 1a/2, ophunzira) student,
-umba (verb) mould (as in with clay). someone who is educated. Derived from munthu
umboni (noun - 14) evidence. wophunzira (u-a-ku-phunzira).
-umiriza (verb) coerce, force. -ya (verb) be deep (literally or figuratively).
umoyo (noun - 14) health. -yaka (verb) go up in flame.
umo (adjective) in there. -yala (verb) spread.
umodzi (noun - 14) unity, quality of one. -yamba (verb) begin, start.
umphawi (noun - 14) poverty. -yamika (verb) express thanks, give praise. see also
una (noun - 14) burrow. thokoza.
uphunzitsi (noun - 14) teaching. -yandikirana (verb adjective) be close to each
usiku (noun) night time, after dark. other.
usodzi (noun - 14) fishing, profession of. -yandikira (verb) be near, get close to.
uta (noun - 14/6, mauta) bow (and arrow). -yankhula (verb) speak. Interchangable with -
uta wa leza (noun) rainbow (lit. bow of god). lankhula.
uthenga (noun - 14/6, mauthenga) message. yankho (noun - 5/6, mayankho) response.
utsi (noun - 9/10) smoke. -yang'ana (verb) look.
-utsa mkwiyo (verb) anger (lit. to wake up -yankha (verb) respond, answer.
anger). -yangana (verb) look at, gaze.
utsiru (noun - 14) idiotcracy. -yang'anira (verb) look after, take care, look for.
-utsa (verb) wake someone up (cause to get up). -yasamula (verb) yawn.
Chichewa vocabulary 16

-yatsa (verb) set something ablaze, turn on


electrical device. Yatsani nyali. Light (turn
on) the lamp.
-yembekeza (verb) wait, hope.
yeniyeni (connecting word) real.
-yenda (verb) travel, walk, move.
-yenda pansi (verb) travel on foot, do
something behind another's back
(figuratively).
-yendera (verb) walk with, inspect, visit.
-yenda malonda (verb adjective) be in demand.
-yendetsa (verb) drive.
-yendayenda (verb) wonder around (lit. walk
walk).
-yera (verb adjective) be white, clean.
-yeretsa (verb) clear up.
-yesa (verb) try.
-yomera (verb) should, must, ought.
zambwe (direction word) west. precede with
'ku'.
-zama (verb) go deep (into something) and
hence be firm.
zana (noun - 5/6, mazana) hundred.
zikomo (phrase) thank you. zikomo kwambiri.
thank you very much.
zikomo kwambiri (phrase) thank you very
much.
-zima (verb) extinguish (lamp or fire).
-zindikira (verb) recognize.
-zinga (verb) roll, slaughter.
-zizwana (verb) have a disagreement.
-zizwa (verb adjective) be surprised. Originated
from Chitumbuka (spoken in northern part of
Malawi).
-zizira (verb adjective) be cold.
-zizwa (verb) be surprised.
zocheza (phrase) just kidding.
-zolowera (verb) get used to, develop a habit.
zoona zake (connecting word) in reality (lit. it's
truth).
zovala (noun) clothes, garment. zinthu zovala
(lit. things to wear).
-zunguza (verb) make go around.
-zungulira mutu (verb) go nuts (lit. go around
head).
-zungulira (verb) go round, surround.