Also found in: Thesaurus, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.


n. pl. Swahili or Swa·hi·lis
1. A Bantu language of the coast and islands of eastern Africa from Somalia to Mozambique. It is an official language of Tanzania and is widely used as a lingua franca in eastern and east-central Africa. Also called Kiswahili.
2. An inhabitant of coastal eastern Africa for whom Swahili is the mother tongue.

[Swahili, from Arabic sawāḥilī, of the coasts, from sawāḥil, pl. of sāḥil, coast, active participle of saḥala, to scrape off, smooth; see šḥl in Semitic roots.]

Swa·hi′li·an adj.


npl -lis or -li
1. (Languages) 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. (Peoples) Also called: Mswahili or Waswahili a member of a people speaking this language, living chiefly in Zanzibar
3. (Languages) of or relating to the Swahilis or their language
4. (Peoples) of or relating to the Swahilis or their language
[C19: from Arabic sawāhil coasts]
Swaˈhilian adj


(swɑˈhi li)

a Bantu language, serving as a lingua franca in E and E central Africa, and the native tongue of a number of ethnic groups living along the coast of E Africa and offshore islands.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.Swahili - the most widely spoken Bantu languagesSwahili - the most widely spoken Bantu languages; the official language of Kenya and Tanzania and widely used as a lingua franca in east and central Africa
kanzu - (Swahili) a long garment (usually white) with long sleeves; worn by men in East Africa
Niger-Kordofanian, Niger-Kordofanian language - the family of languages that includes most of the languages spoken in Africa south of the Sahara; the majority of them are tonal languages but there are important exceptions (e.g., Swahili or Fula)
Bantoid language, Bantu - a family of languages widely spoken in the southern half of the African continent


[swɑːˈhiːlɪ] Nswahili m, suajili m


n (= African language)Suaheli nt
References in periodicals archive ?
Umoja which means "unity" in Swahili is a complete re-working of the way the United Introducing his proposed USD 5.
Web text can now be changed and transformed in to Swahili language after Microsoft's unveiling of the translation choice in partnership with Tanslators Without Borders.
The focus throughout the book is on the Giriama and Swahili ethnic groups.
A QUICK-witted paramedic was able to chat to a pregnant African patient in Swahili after he took out his smartphone and googled her language.
After that I started singing in Arabic, Hindi, English, Punjabi, Swahili and Balochi as music knows no boundaries and I strongly believe that it is the uniqueness of music which captivates the audience all over the world," he added.
A client may need a corporate document made up of dozens of pages to be translated from English into Igbo, Twi, Kinyarwanda and Swahili, and often within a specific time-frame.
The so-called 'new', or 'experimental' novel (1) in Swahili emerged in the early 1990s with the publication of its founding text, the dilogy Nagona and Mzingile by Euphrase Kezilahabi.
The exceptional ones such as Tumbe are often seen as early versions of fourteenth-fifteenth-century Swahili towns, well known for their above-ground coral ruins, Islamic practice, and cosmopolitan links to large-scale merchant activities across the Indian Ocean world (Wright 1993; Kusimba 1999; LaViolette 2008).
Swahili made easy; a beginner's complete course, English ed.
Travel Business Review-October 3, 2012--Nairobi to host Swahili fashion week(C)2012] ENPublishing - http://www.
A new Swahili and English-language app for farmers in Tanzania is being developed and piloted with funding from undersea cable provider SEACOM by Dar es Salaam-based application services provider Nuru Infocomm.
Based on the constructionist theory, the article analyses the standpoints of the conservatives and the liberals in the debate and contends that they reveal three subsets of identities: the Swahili, the Africans and the universal.