Definition of Swahili in English:

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Pronunciation: /swəˈhiːli/
Pronunciation: /swɑːˈhiːli/

noun (plural same)

1 [mass noun] A Bantu language widely used as a lingua franca in East Africa and having official status in several countries. There are probably fewer than 2 million native speakers, but it is in everyday use by over 20 million. Also called Kiswahili.
Example sentences
  • 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.
Example sentences
  • 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.


Relating to Swahili or to its native speakers.
Example sentences
  • 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'.

Words that rhyme with Swahili

campanile, dele, eely, Ely, fusilli, Gigli, Ismaili, Keeley, Keneally, KwaNdebele, Lely, Matabele, mealie, mealy, Ndebele, sapele, Sindebele, steely, wheelie

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: Swa|hili

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