[ oo-hoo-roo; English oo-hoor-oo ]
/ uˈhu ru; English ʊˈhʊər u /
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noun Swahili.
freedom; independence.
Test how much you really know about regular and irregular plural nouns with this quiz.
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Which of the following nouns has an irregular plural form?
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What is uhuru?

Uhuru is a Swahili term meaning freedom or independence.

Uhuru is often used to describe the freedom of a country to govern itself, especially in parts of Africa where Swahili is spoken. In Kenya, uhuru was used frequently in the mid-1900s when Kenya was gaining independence from the United Kingdom.

Uhuru is also the first name of Kenya’s fourth president, Uhuru Kenyatta. He is the leader of the Jubilee Party of Kenya’s political system.

Example: On Jamhuri Day, Mukondi likes to watch the uhuru parades.

Where does uhuru come from?

The first records of the term uhuru in English come from around the 1960s. It comes directly from Swahili.

In Kenya, December 12 is Jamhuri Day (jamhuri means “republic” in Swahili). Kenyans celebrate their uhuru with parties and parades, often chanting phrases containing the term uhuru. In Tanzania, uhuru is also used in celebration of independence. Tanzanian Independence Day, or Tanzania Uhuru Day as it is sometimes called, is celebrated on December 9. Tanzanians, too, use uhuru in celebratory phrases, often at military parades and in addresses from the nation’s leaders.

Because of its connections to independence in some African nations, uhuru is often used in both English and Swahili in connection with African pride or to name places with significance to African culture or history. For example, the highest peak in Africa, located on a volcanic cone of Mount Kilimanjaro, is called Uhuru Peak. And Black Uhuru is a Jamaican band, some of whose songs deal with liberation and freedom from stress and oppression.

Did you know … ?

What are some synonyms for uhuru?

What are some words that often get used in discussing uhuru?

How is uhuru used in real life?

Uhuru is often used in discussions about African pride and freedom.



Try using uhuru!

True or False?

Uhuru is often connected to the idea of national freedom.

How to use uhuru in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for uhuru

/ (uːˈhuːruː) /

noun (esp in E Africa)
national independence

Word Origin for uhuru

C20: from Swahili
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