[ swah-hee-lee ]
/ swɑˈhi li /

noun, plural Swa·hi·lis, (especially collectively) Swa·hi·li for 1.

a member of a Bantu people of Zanzibar and the neighboring coast of Africa.
Also Kiswahili, ki-Swahili. the Bantu language of the Swahili people, used also as a lingua franca in Tanzania, Kenya, and parts of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.


Swa·hi·li·an, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for swahili

British Dictionary definitions for swahili

/ (swɑːˈhiːlɪ) /


Also called: Kiswahili a language of E Africa that is an official language of Kenya and Tanzania and is widely used as a lingua franca throughout E and central Africa. It is a member of the Bantu group of the Niger-Congo family, originally spoken in Zanzibar, and has a large number of loan words taken from Arabic and other languages
Also called: Mswahili, Waswahili plural -lis or -li a member of a people speaking this language, living chiefly in Zanzibar


of or relating to the Swahilis or their language

Derived forms of Swahili

Swahilian, adjective

Word Origin for Swahili

C19: from Arabic sawāhil coasts
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012