Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search


Alternative forms[edit]


Cush +‎ -ite, coined in the 1820s. In the early 19th century, the term referred to the tan to dark-skinned people of the Horn of Africa (synonymous with Herodotus' Ethiopians) in general. The technical linguistic sense is due to Friedrich Müller (1876).


Cushite (not comparable)

  1. Pertaining to the ancient people of the Horn of Africa, historically considered the descendants of biblical Cush.


Proper noun[edit]


  1. (linguistics) The Cushitic subfamily of languages.
    • 1915, Carl Meinhof, A. Werner, transl., An Introduction to the Study of African Languages, London: J. M. Dent & Sons, page 150:
      Similarly, in the Hamitic area, the Berber languages of the north-west are clearly distinguished from Ful, and these, again, from the Nilotic languages, which, in their turn, are quite distinct from the “Cushite” languages in the east (i.e. Somali, Galla, Saho, Bedauye, etc.).
    • 1990, [Joseph H. Greenberg], “Internal a- Plurals in Afroasiatic (Hamito-Semitic) (1955)”, in Keith Denning, Suzanne Kemmer, editors, On Language: Selected Writings of Joseph H. Greenberg, Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, →ISBN, page 401:
      The numerous Cushite languages of East Africa make up another branch of Afroasiatic and can be separated for convenience into five subgroups—northern, central, eastern, western, and southern. [] The northern branch of Cushite consists of a number of closely related dialects of which Bedauye, the best known, may be taken as representative.
    • 1995, David M. Helgren, Robert J. Sager, World Geography Today, Holt, Rinehart and Winston, →ISBN, page 454:
      In the second language category are Cushite speakers. Cushite is a subdivison of the Afro-Asiatic language family. Cushite speakers live in areas stretching from the coast of the Red Sea across the Horn of Africa.


Cushite (plural Cushites)

  1. (anthropology, dated in academic contexts) A member of one of various peoples native to the Horn of Africa, generally restricted to those that speak Cushitic languages.