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See also: Donga and dóŋa


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Etymology 1[edit]

From Afrikaans donga, from Zulu udonga.


donga (plural dongas)

  1. (South Africa) A usually dry, eroded watercourse running only in times of heavy rain.
    • 1900, Arthur Conan Doyle, The Great Boer War, Volume 2, 2008 Easyread Large Bold Edition, page 14:
      Major Pack-Beresford and other officers were shot down, and every unhorsed man remained necessarily as a prisoner under the very muzzles of the riflemen in the donga.
    • 1901, Ernest William Hornung, “The Knees of the Gods”, in Raffles: Further Adventures of the Amateur Cracksman, Charles Scribner’s Sons, page 284:
      There were trenches for us men, but no place of safety for our horses nearer than this long and narrow donga which ran from within our lines towards those of the Boers.
    • 1948, Henry Vollam Morton, In Search of South Africa,[1] Methuen, page 168:
      Thousands of miserable cattle and goats roamed everywhere making tracks that would someday form cracks which successive rains would open into gullies and dongas.
    • 1999, JM Coetzee, Disgrace, Vintage 2000, p. 98:
      Count yourself lucky not to be a prisoner in the car at this moment, speeding away, or at the bottom of a donga with a bullet in your head.


  • Jean Bradford, A Dictionary of South African English, Oxford (1978).

Etymology 2[edit]

(This etymology is missing or incomplete. Please add to it, or discuss it at the Etymology scriptorium.)


donga (plural dongas)

  1. (Australia) A transportable building with single rooms, often used on remote work sites or as tourist accommodation.
    • 2004, Susie Ashworth, Rebecca Turner, Simone Egger, Western Australia, Lonely Planet, page 152,
      Menzies Hotel ([Ph] 9024 2043; 22 Shenton St; s/d $48/65, donga $75) has old-style hotel rooms as well as - for that real goldfields experience - dongas (temporary miner′s abode, usually made from corrugated iron), and also serves all meals.
    • 2004, James Woodford, The Dog Fence, page 225,
      He not only expects his fence to be perfect, he also expects his dongas to be the best workman′s huts in Australia, and that is what they are.
    • 2009, David Marr, The Ibdian Ocean Solution, Robyn Davidson (editor), The Best Australian Essays 2009, page 118,
      Workers building roads in the bush sleep in dongas like these and are well paid for their discomfort.
Usage notes[edit]
  • Usually used in outback Australia, especially the northwest.




From Zulu udonga.


donga (plural dongas)

  1. donga


  • English: donga
  • German: Donga




  1. Rōmaji transcription of どんが