student asking question

What does "kumbaya" mean?

teacher

Native speaker’s answer

Rebecca

That's a very good question! The meaning of "kumbaya" is a bit complicated, and to understand it, you should know the origin of the word. The word "kumbaya" originates from a famous song written in an African creole language after the times of slavery in the United States. In more recent times, it has become a popular song for people to sing together around a campfire, especially for children in boy scouts and girl scouts. The word "kumbaya" became associated with the idea of perfect harmony and happiness without any problems. Today, however, it is often used in a negative context to show that people who believe in this idea are ignorant. Ex: We have important things to do. We can't just sit around together and sing "kumbaya"! However, in the case of the video here, "kumbaya" seems to be used simply as an exclamation word. Keep in mind that this is not how the word is commonly used.

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