Dictionary.com
definitions
  • synonyms

Swahili

[swah-hee-lee]
noun, plural Swa·hi·lis, (especially collectively) Swa·hi·li for 1.
  1. a member of a Bantu people of Zanzibar and the neighboring coast of Africa.
  2. 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.
Show More
Related formsSwa·hi·li·an, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for swahili

Contemporary Examples of swahili

Historical Examples of swahili

  • The request was repeated outside in Swahili, and turned into a strange tongue.

    The Leopard Woman

    Stewart Edward White

  • "You have asked a true question," Kingozi shifted to Swahili.

    The Leopard Woman

    Stewart Edward White

  • Those who understood Swahili murmured eagerly to those who did not.

    The Leopard Woman

    Stewart Edward White

  • "You have done well, very well," Kingozi shifted to Swahili.

    The Leopard Woman

    Stewart Edward White

  • He cursed in Swahili and Portuguese, and his language was forcible and impolite.


British Dictionary definitions for swahili

Swahili

noun
  1. 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
  2. Also called: Mswahili, Waswahili plural -lis or -li a member of a people speaking this language, living chiefly in Zanzibar
Show More
adjective
  1. of or relating to the Swahilis or their language
Show More
Derived FormsSwahilian, 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

Word Origin and History for swahili

Swahili

name of a Bantu people inhabiting the coast of South Africa, 1814, from Arabic sawahil, plural of sahil "coast" + gentilic suffix -i.

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper