n. pl. Bantu or Ban·tus
1. A member of any of a large number of linguistically related peoples of central and southern Africa.
2. A group of over 400 closely related languages spoken in central, east-central, and southern Africa, belonging to the eastern branch of the Benue-Congo group of the Niger-Congo language family and including Swahili, Kinyarwanda, Kirundi, Zulu, and Xhosa.
[From Proto-Bantu *bantu, people : *ba-, pl. human pref. + *-ntu, entity.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.