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[zim-bahb-wey, -wee] /zɪmˈbɑb weɪ, -wi/
Formerly Southern Rhodesia, Rhodesia. a republic in S Africa: a former British colony and part of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland; gained independence 1980. 150,330 sq. mi. (389,362 sq. km).
Capital: Harare.
the site of stone ruins (Great Zimbabwe) discovered c1870 in Rhodesia, probably built by a Bantu people, consisting of three main groups of ruins, and dating between the 9th and 15th centuries a.d.
Related forms
Zimbabwean, adjective, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for Zimbabwe
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • I have shown you the Zimbabwe, the stone cities of the ancients.


    Stephen French Whitman
  • "We'll go on to Zimbabwe to-morrow and camp beside the ruins," answered Meryl.

    The Rhodesian

    Gertrude Page
  • Two tiresome women have dared to journey to Zimbabwe to look at his ruins.

    The Rhodesian

    Gertrude Page
  • Then, again, it is only twelve miles from Victoria to Zimbabwe.

    Through South Africa Henry M. Stanley
  • You know that the old ruins in Rhodesia, called Zimbabwe, were long believed to be Phoenician in origin.

    Prester John John Buchan
British Dictionary definitions for Zimbabwe


/zɪmˈbɑːbwɪ; -weɪ/
a country in SE Africa, formerly a self-governing British colony founded in 1890 by the British South Africa Company, which administered the country until a self-governing colony was established in 1923; joined with Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia) and Nyasaland (now Malawi) as the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland from 1953 to 1963; made a unilateral declaration of independence (UDI) under the leadership of Ian Smith in 1965 on the basis of White minority rule; proclaimed a republic in 1970; in 1976 the principle of Black majority rule was accepted and in 1978 a transitional government was set up; gained independence under Robert Mugabe in 1980; effectively a one-party state since 1987; a member of the Commonwealth until 2003, when it withdrew as a result of conflict with other members. Official language: English. Religion: Christian majority. Currency: Zimbabwe dollar. Capital: Harare. Pop: 13 182 908 (2013 est). Area: 390 624 sq km (150 820 sq miles) Former names (until 1964) Southern Rhodesia, (1964–79) Rhodesia
Also Great Zimbabwe. a ruined fortified settlement in Zimbabwe, which at its height, in the 15th century, was probably the capital of an empire covering SE Africa
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
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Word Origin and History for Zimbabwe

southern African nation, 1980, named for an ancient city there, from Bantu zimba we bahwe "houses of stones," from zimba, plural of imba "house" + bahwe "stones." Previously known as Rhodesia (1964-80).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Zimbabwe in Culture
Zimbabwe [(zim-bahb-way)]

Landlocked republic in south-central Africa, bordered by Botswana to the west, Zambia to the north, Mozambique to the east, and South Africa to the south. Formerly called Rhodesia. Harare (formerly called Salisbury) is the capital and largest city.

Note: A British colony from the end of the nineteenth century to 1965 and then (1965–1980) a renegade state ruled by a white minority, Zimbabwe became independent in 1980.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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