• synonyms


[dong-guh, dawng-guh]
  1. (in an ice shelf) a small ravine with steep sides.
  2. (in South Africa) an eroded ravine; a dry watercourse.
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Origin of donga

1875–80; < Nguni (compare Zulu u(lu)donga); perhaps directly < a pidginized form with loss of the class prefix, as Fanagalo donga
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for donga

Historical Examples

  • Thirty yards or so from this, and in the donga, lay the corpse of the Prince Imperial.

    History of the Zulu War

    A. Wilmot

  • Then he remembered that in his eagerness to get out he had left his knob-kerrie in the donga.

  • They also took refuge in the donga, and waited for better times.

    The Great Boer War

    Arthur Conan Doyle

  • The gallant fellow managed to crawl to the group of castaways in the donga.

    The Great Boer War

    Arthur Conan Doyle

  • There were only five or six of them, and they waited in a donga for reinforcements.

    Two Years on Trek

    Louis Eugne du Moulin

British Dictionary definitions for donga


  1. Southern African, Australian and NZ a steep-sided gully created by soil erosion
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Word Origin

C19: Afrikaans, from Nguni donga washed out gully


  1. (in Papua New Guinea) a house or shelter
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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