Swahili(redirected from Swahilis)
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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.]
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]
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.
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|Noun||1.||Swahili - 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)