Definition of Swahili in English:


Syllabification: Swa·hi·li
Pronunciation: /swäˈhēlē

noun (plural same)

  • 1A Bantu language widely used as a lingua franca in East Africa and having official status in several countries. Also called Kiswahili.
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    • Many of the dialects borrow from Bantu languages, Swahili, Arabic, English, and French.
    • One of the most important integrating forces is the use of the national lingua franca - Swahili, a language spoken and revered by nearly all Tanzanians.
    • I also learned that in Tanzania, they speak over 150 different tribal languages, but Swahili is the official mother tongue. just imagine!
  • 2A member of a people of Zanzibar and nearby coastal regions, descendants of the original speakers of Swahili.
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    • This synthesis of spiritual worldviews is not unique to Hausa Islam, but is found in most other Afro-Islamic communities, such as those of the Somali, the Swahili, and the Bambara.
    • Derived from a Swahili, the word means working together.


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  • Relating to Swahili or to the people who are its native speakers.
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    • There is also the Swahili coast - that is the Tanzanian Coastline - with some great beaches south of Dar es Salaam.
    • I never managed to figure out the difference between samosas and sambusas (I think it's simply that the latter is the Swahili name).
    • My Swahili phrase book - bought at the station - came in surprisingly handy with ‘there is a grinding noise’.


from Arabic sawāḥil, plural of sāḥil 'coast'.

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Word of the day coloratura
Pronunciation: ˌkɒlərəˈtjʊərə
elaborate ornamentation of a vocal melody