Hinde (1904) records mwatu “barrel” and mwātu “honey box” in “Jogowini dialect” of Kikuyu, listing also Kamba mwatu (honey box) as their equivalent.[1]


As for Tonal Class, Armstrong (1940) classifies this term into mote class which includes mũtĩ, gĩkwa (pl. ikwa), gĩthaka, kĩnya, kĩrũũmi, mũcinga, mũgate, mũhaka, mũrũthi, njagĩ, njohi, nyũmba, etc.[2] Benson (1964) classifies this term into Class 2 with a disyllabic stem, together with kĩgunyũ, njagĩ, kiugũ, and so on.
  • (Kiambu)


mwatũ class 3 (plural mĩatũ)

  1. beehive made of tree trunk split in two and hollowed out[4]
    mwatũ wa njũkĩ - hive of bee(s)
  2. cylindrical wooden barrel whose both ends have lids, used for storage in the home[4]

Derived termsEdit



  1. ^ Hinde, Hildegarde (1904). Vocabularies of the Kamba and Kikuyu languages of East Africa, pp. 6–7, 32–33. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  2. ^ Armstrong, Lilias E. (1940). The Phonetic and Tonal Structure of Kikuyu. Rep. 1967. (Also in 2018 by Routledge).
  3. ^ Yukawa, Yasutoshi (1981). "A Tentative Tonal Analysis of Kikuyu Nouns: A Study of Limuru Dialect." In Journal of Asian and African Studies, No. 22, 75–123.
  4. 4.0 4.1 mwatũ” in Benson, T.G. (1964). Kikuyu-English dictionary, p. 18. Oxford: Clarendon Press.