Nyaudzosingwi| Breaking down 70 ideophones of breaking

broken eggshells

In lay terms, ideophones are words that stand out (are ‘marked’) and whose form betrays something of (is depictive of) their meaning. The following 70 ideophones (nyaudzosingwi) describe the act of breaking. I made reference to the Standard Shona Dictionary (M. Hannan, S.J.) for descriptions. I have given examples that hopefully betray the meanings of the ideophones. I should however warn you, it wasn’t an easy task hence you will have to consider my examples with caution.

Dictionary definitions are a depiction of how the words are used everyday and hence reveal the way of life of the language users. The dictionary I used was first printed in 1959. The examples given on ideophones of breaking tell stories of pottery, squashes, mealies, sweet potatoes and firewood. In my example sentences, I have in some cases tried to move away from the examples given. Hopefully a more relatable example will provide a better depiction of the word’s meaning.

nyaudzosingwi & descriptionexample of use in a sentence
1. bedu
breaking semi hard object e.g. clay pot, uncooked potato
Akatora bhisikiti ndokuriti bedu napakati.
2. bedu
breaking soft object e.g. cooked potato
Chioniso akati zimusuva resadza bedu, ndiye kabi.
3. bhogo
breaking something into pieces
Neshungu, Nehanya akanhonga zidende raiva pamberi pake ndokunoriti padziro bhogo, richibva raparara.
4. bhogo
breaking stalk of sugarcane
Akatora ipwa ndokuiti nebvi bhogo.
5. bodo
breaking with hands (soft object e.g. mushroom, cake)
Akatora mbambaira inopisa kubva mupoto ndokuiti bodo nepakati, akatanga kuifuridzira kuti ipore.
6. budu
breaking with hands (soft object e.g. mushroom, cake)
Akatora mbambaira kubva mupoto yainge ichangoburwa, ndokuiti budu nepakati.
7. bwa
breaking (dry object)
Akagumburwa achifamba, hari yaakanga akatsiga ikanoti pasi bwa.
8. bwabwa
breaking
Akawira pahari dzakanga dzakaturikidzana pahuva dzikanoti pasi bwabwa.
9. bwabwabwa
breaking (as branches of felled tree on impact)
Muti wakarohwa nemheni mapazi awo akanoti bwabwabwa achiwira pasi.
10. bwadagu
breaking pottery
Bhora rakasvikorova hari yaiva padara ikabva yanoti pasi bwadagu.
11. bwadamu
breaking pottery
Bhora rakasvikorova hari yaiva padara ikabva yanoti pasi bwadamu.
12. bwadu
breaking (pottery)
Zibazi remuti rakanga riri pakati pemugwagwa rakati bwadu apo rakatsikwa nemotokari.
13. bwaga
breaking (e.g. green stalk)
Akabata nwiwa nemaoko maviri ndokunoriti padombo bwaga.
14. bwaga
dashing to pieces (fragile object)
Kamwana kakatsvedza kakatakura ndiro yedhaka ikanoti pasi bwaga.
15. bwagamu
breaking pottery
Bhora rakasvikorova hari yaiva padara ikabva yanoti pasi bwagamu.
16. bwagu
breaking pottery
Bhora rakasvikorova hari yaiva padara ikabva yanoti pasi bwagu.
17. bwazhamu
breaking (fragile object)
Akapunza chirongo chizere mvura chikanoti pasi bwazhamu.
18. bwazhu
breaking (fragile object)
Akapunza chirongo chizere mvura chikanoti pasi bwazhu.
19. bweshu
breaking piece off (e.g. off unburnt pot)
Akati sadza bweshu kubva pazimukonde raiva rasara shure kwemabiko.
20. bwodo
breaking green stalk
Akanhonga tsotso ndokudziti kamwechete bwodo achibva akanda muchoto.
21. bwogo
breaking green stalk
Akanhonga tsotso ndokudziti kamwechete bwogo achibva akanda muchoto.
22. chepfu
breaking in two (e.g. rope, stick)
Akatora kanduru ndokuriti bhogo, achibva ati chitambo chepakati chepfu.
23. chipfu
breaking or cutting something that makes no sound
Akatora chigero ndokubata vhudzi rake akariti chipfu.
24. dashu
breaking in two (fibre, string)
Akaruma zinhango renyama ndokuriti nepakati dashu.
25. de
breaking something fragile (e.g. eggs) to remove contents
Ndakatora zai ndokuriti de pahwasha (rim) yehari, ndichabva ndakuturira zvemukati zvose muhari makare.
26. du
breaking something fragile (e.g. eggs) to remove contents
Ndakatora zai ndokuriti du pahwasha (rim) yehari, ndichabva ndakuturira zvemukati zvose muhari makare.
27. godo
breaking in two (e.g. maize cob)
Chiedza akatora godwa resipo akariti godo nepakati.
28. gudu
breaking in two (such things as maize cobs)
Chiedza akatora godwa resipo akariti gudu nepakati.
29. gwibu
breaking in two (thick sugar-cane/ piece of metal)
Akati gwibu nzimbe ndokugovera Chiedza naNduramo.
30. gwipfu
breaking with hands (short, dry, fairly brittle object; e.g. short stick)
Akatora chimuti ndokuchiti gwipfu nebvi.
31. gwinyu
breaking in two (e.g. mealie cob)
Amai vakatora chokoreti yaibvutidzanwa nevana ndokuiti gwinyu nepakati kuti vaigovanise.
32. ketye
breaking brittle object (e.g. stick)
Chiedza akati kamuti ketye.
33. kotyo
breaking brittle object (e.g. stick)
Danai akati kapazi kotyo kubva mumuti.
34. kwedu
breaking in two (e.g. dry stick); piece if earthenware pot; of dry object that breaks with a snap
Mudzidzisi akati chimedu chechoko kwedu achibva anyora pachokobhodhi.
35. kwishu
breaking in two (e.g. rope, stick); breaking in two (under pressure or strain); breaking in two (thin, dry non-metallc object)
Amai vakatora mhombwa (ball of string) yeshinda ndokuti chishinda kwishu kuti varukise vhudzi raMaria.
36. madu
breaking brittle object (e.g. earthenware pot)
Chiedza akati chokoreti madu ndokupa chimedu kuna Chioniso.
37. madure
breaking brittle object (e.g. earthenware pot)
Chionisoakati chokoreti madure ndokupa chimedu kuna Chiedza.
38. mhopfo
breaking (e.g. bread)
Akatora chimedu chenhanga rakabikwa ndokuchiti mhopfo.
39. mhwatsau
breaking large piece off object that breaks easily (e.g. cracked pot)
Akatora vise rakatsemuka ndokuriti mhwatsau.
40. mhwatsu
breaking large piece off object that breaks easily (e.g. cracked pot)
Akatora nwiwa rakatsemuka ndokuriti mhwatsu.
41. mobvo
breaking (e.g. bread)
Akati chingwa mobvo kubva parofu raakanga akabata.
42. modo
breaking soft object (e.g. banana)
Akati kapitsi kekeke modo.
43. mopfo
breaking (e.g. bread)
Akatora chimedu chenhanga rakabikwa ndokuchiti mopfo.
44. mudu
breaking soft object in two
Akati pitsi yekeke modo.
45. nepfu
breaking because soggy (e.g. mushroom)
Nyama yaaipakura yakanga yongoti nepfu nokuibvisa.
46. ngotyo
breaking with a snap (e.g. green stick)
Gumbo recheya rakati ngotyo Chenai ndokudonhera pasi.
47. n’odo
breaking thin soft object (e.g. banana)
Akatora katsima kechinamo ndokuti kapitsi n’odo kuti anamise bepa rake padziro.
48. n’udu
breaking soft object (e.g. banana)
Akatora katsima kechinamo ndokuti kapitsi n’udu kuti anamise bepa rake padziro.
49. pabu
breaking with a snap (dry, non-metallic object)
Akatora goko (pod) romusasa ndokuriti padu.
50. papfu
snapping in two; breaking (e.g. bread); breaking easily (soggy object ; e.g. mushroom); breaking easily (short, brittle object)
Akati chingwa papfu kubva parofu raakanga akabata.
51. pfugumu
breaking piece off a dry, powdery object (generally by knocking; the piece broken off is reduced to powder)
Kachuru kakatemwa nebadza ndokubva kati pfugumu.
52. pfungumu
breaking piece off a dry, powdery object (generally by knocking; the piece broken off is reduced to powder)
Akatsika danda rakanga radyiwa nemuchenje rikabva rati pfungumu.
53. pipfu
breaking in two (dry stick; biltong)
Akatora nzungu ndokuti deko (shell) pipfu.
54. pogo
breaking in two (e.g. dry stalk)
Akatora karotsi ndokuiti napakati pogo.
55. potyo
breaking (e.g. green stalk)
Akapinda mugadheni ndokuti muriwo potyo, potyo.
56. pudu
breaking (semi-hard object; e.g. raw potato)
Akatora godwa resipo nyoro ndokuriti pudu nepakati.
57. pupfu
breaking (soft object; e.g. cooked sweet potato)
Akadzvanya pichisi rikati pupfu.
58. pwa
Breaking (especially dry wood)
Bhotoro rakanoti pasi pwa.
59. pwadu
breaking piece off (brittle object e.g. calabash)
Akatora goko (pod) romusasa ndokuriti pwadu.
60. pwaka
smashing (dropped fragile object, e.g. egg)
Ndiro yedhaka yakanoti pasi pwaka.
61. pwapwapwa
breaking (especially dry twigs when walked on)
Akatsika chiringiro chikabva changoti pwapwapwa.
62. pweshu
breaking piece off (e.g. unburnt pottery)
Akati sadza pweshu kubva pazimukonde raiva rasara shure kwemabiko.
63. rugudu
break off and fall
Muti wakarohwa nemheni zibazi rikati rugudu.
64. tekenu
breaking up (hard ground, floor of house); chipping (e.g. enamel plate)
Ndiro yakarovera pasi ndiyo tekenu.
65. tidigu
breaking up hard ground , digging deeply
Akatora piki ndokunoti pasi tidigu.
66. tye
breaking brittle object
Tipei akapfipfinyika zvaakaona Taizivei atora spaghetti ndokuiti nepakati tye asati aiisa mupoto.
67. tyo
breaking brittle object
Chiedza akapfipfinyika zvaakaona Taizivei atora spaghetti ndokuiti nepakati tyo asati aiisa mupoto.
68. tyodo
breaking (e.g. green stick)
Gumbo recheya rakati tyodo Chenai ndokudonhera pasi.
69. tyotyotyo
breaking (as branches of felled tree on impact)
Tsotso dzakatsikwa ndokuti tyotyotyo.
70. vhonyo
breaking
Akapedza kunwa mvura ndokuti kachigubhu vhonyo.
71. vhuni
breaking (stick, arm, etc)
Akapunzika gumbo ndokuti vhuni.
72. warara
breaking and scattering
Akati chingwa warara.
73. zvau
breaking and pulling off
Mbudzi yakanga yakasungirirwa pamuti yakati tambo zvau.

I should say coming up with example sentences was pretty challenging in some cases. Some words became pretty confusing when they were used differently. For example, I noticed cases where the same word was used for breaking both a dry and soft object. However, I really hope this article was of some help.


The examples used in this article are based on my understanding of the ideophones and are given in no professional or expert capacity. For the descriptions, reference was made to Hannan S.J, Standard Shona Dictionary (Revised Edition, College Press).