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Oyee! It’s official – nyama choma makes it to the dictionary

A visit to Kenya is not complete without tasting the roadside delights of nyama choma – or grilled meat. And now you can chew it in the knowledge that the lexicographers in Oxford have put it in their world-famous English dictionary.

It’s one of 200 new and revised entries from East African English in the latest update of the Oxford English Dictionary (OED).

The OED is one of the most respected sources for the language.

Other things you can munch on safe in the knowledge that it now has an official stamp are:

  • chapo – a thin pancake of unleavened wholemeal bread cooked on a griddle
  • chips mayai – in Tanzanian and Kenyan cooking – a thick omelette having fried potatoes mixed in with the eggs during cooking, served open rather than folded
  • katogo – the name of a typical Ugandan breakfast dish consisting of matoke boiled in a pot with various other ingredients

And if you fancy just a little snack, you can now have a biting, which is a bite-sized piece of food.

In other areas of life, sambaza meaning “to share or send something” is now in the OED, along with tarmacking which is “the action or process of walking the streets looking for work”. If you work with someone you can call it a collabo safe in the knowledge that it is correct English.

And if you fancy celebrating the inclusion of these words then you can shout “oyee!” – which according to the dictionary experts is a way to express “encouragement, incitement, or support: go on! go for it! long live! hurrah!”

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