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  1. a city in and the capital of Natal province, in the E Republic of South Africa.


[nuh-tal, -tahl; for 2 also Portuguese nuh-tawl]
  1. a province in the E part of the Republic of South Africa. 35,284 sq. mi. (91,886 sq. km). Capital: Pietermaritzburg.
  2. a seaport in E Brazil.
Related formsNa·tal·i·an, adjective, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for pietermaritzburg

Historical Examples

  • Pietermaritzburg, the capital, is only some fifty miles from the coast as the crow flies.

    Impressions of South Africa

    James Bryce

  • Pietermaritzburg, the capital of Natal, was first settled by the Dutch.

  • They had applied for leave for the alleged purpose of visiting Pietermaritzburg.

  • When the British Commissioner arrived at Pietermaritzburg, a stormy mass meeting was held.

  • The Pietermaritzburg column, which had reached Colenso, was ordered back to Onderbrook.

British Dictionary definitions for pietermaritzburg


  1. a city in E South Africa, the capital of KwaZulu-Natal: founded in 1839 by the Boers: gateway to Natal's mountain resorts. Pop: 223 519 (2001)


  1. of or relating to birth
  2. a rare word for native natal instincts

Word Origin

C14: from Latin nātālis of one's birth, from nātus, from nascī to be born


  1. anatomy of or relating to the buttocks

Word Origin

from New Latin nates buttocks


  1. (nəˈtæl) a former province of E South Africa, between the Drakensberg and the Indian Ocean: set up as a republic by the Boers in 1838; became a British colony in 1843; joined South Africa in 1910; replaced by KwaZulu-Natal in 1994. Capital: Pietermaritzburg
  2. (Portuguese naˈtal) a port in NE Brazil, capital of Rio Grande do Norte state, near the mouth of the Potengi River. Pop: 1 049 000 (2005 est)
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for pietermaritzburg



late 14c., "of or pertaining to birthdays," from Latin natalis "pertaining to birth or origin," from natus, past participle of nasci "to be born" (Old Latin gnasci; see genus).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

pietermaritzburg in Medicine


  1. Of, relating to, or accompanying birth.
  2. Of or relating to the buttocks.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.