Kenyan English

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The OED’s coverage of World Englishes includes words and phrases from the variety of English spoken in Kenya, a country in East Africa.

Kenyan English words recently recorded in the OED

See the full list of Kenyan English words most recently added to the OED here.

The words shown above are free to view. Click on links above to view these words, or explore further using the advanced search (learn how to search the OED here).

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Additional resources

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Use the submissions form below to suggest a Kenyan English word for inclusion in the OED:

World Englishes

  • E.g. Philippine English, Hong Kong English, Ugandan English
  • e.g. bammy, skinship, bunny hug
  • e.g. an informal social gathering, a street vendor
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Kenyan English editors and consultants

The OED works in partnership with external experts from or in East Africa to ensure that our entries for East African English words draw from local knowledge and expertise and reflect the everyday reality and distinctive identity of the East African English-speaking community.

Kenyan English pronunciation

View the OED’s pronunciation model and key to pronunciation for East African English.

Kenyan English resources: from the OED blog

In Kenyan English, a biting (1997) is a bite-sized piece of food, a small snack, appetizer, or canapé; while a merry-go-round (1989) is an informal cooperative savings scheme, typically run by and for women, in which each participant regularly contributes an amount, and the whole sum is distributed to the members in turn. To shrub is to pronounce or write words in another language in a manner that is influenced by one’s mother tongue, and a shrub (2008) is a word pronounced or written in this manner. To shrub and shrub are colloquialisms chiefly used with reference to English or Swahili words pronounced in a manner characteristic of another Kenyan language.

Excerpt taken from OED blog post, ‘Release notes: East African English


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