Describing people using physical characteristics

Helpful vocabulary:

Word Masculine Feminine
tall dogo doguwa
short gajere gajera/gajeria
light-skinned fari fara
dark-skinned baki baka
beautiful kyakykyawa kyakykyawa
ugly mummuna mammuna
slim siriri siririya
fat lukuti lukuta
young matashi matashiya
old tsofo tsofuwa

**note that pronunciation and spelling change for each adjective depending on whether you are describing a man or a woman, except ‘beautiful.’ Also, the term slim and fat are understood quite differently than in an American context. The word fat is not considered an insult and is more closely associated with healthy. Additionally, light-skinned does not only refer to white people and there is in fact a separate term that can be used to indicates white man/woman, baturi/baturiya.

There are multiple ways formulate a phrase describing a person based on physical attributes.

  1. (adjective) + ne/ce + (pronoun)
  2. (name/title/pronoun) + (adjective) + ne/ce


  • Dogo ne shi = he is tall
  • Daga ce ita = she is tall
  • Aisha siririya ce = Aisha, she is slim
  • Malamin siriri ne = The (male) teacher, he is slim

To describe someone using multiple physical characteristics use the formula below. Note the lack of the term ‘and’ in Hausa when only using two adjectives. It is however used when using three or more adjectives.

  1. (name/title/pronoun) + (adjective) + ne/ce + (adjective)


  • Matar kyakykyawa ce siririya. = The woman is beautiful and slim.
  • Matar kyakykyawa ce, siririya, da baka. = The woman is beautiful, slim, and dark-skinned.
  • Mutumin kyakykyawa ne siriri. = The man is beautiful/handsome and slim.
  • Mutumin kyakykyawa ne, siriri, da baki. = the man is beautiful/handsome, slim, and dark-skinned.

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