Swahili

noun

Swa·​hi·​li swä-ˈhē-lē How to pronounce Swahili (audio)
plural Swahili or Swahilis
1
: a member of a Bantu-speaking people of Zanzibar and the adjacent coast
2
: a Bantu language that is a trade and governmental language over much of East Africa and in the Congo region

Examples of Swahili in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Filmed in Kenya, with a local crew and partly in English and Swahili, the project is a personal project for the Karim brothers of Ugandan origin, and a way to reconnect with their African roots. Annika Pham, Variety, 29 Jan. 2024 Kenyan goat wet fry at Swahili Village in Beltsville. Tim Carman, Washington Post, 10 Jan. 2024 One is the Wazalendo, Swahili for patriots, a coalition of once-rival militias that the government cobbled together to repel M23, despite the fighters’ reputation for factionalism and brutality. Declan Walsh Arlette Bashizi, New York Times, 17 Dec. 2023 Your kids may even pick up a few words in Swahili which is sometimes spoken on the show! Hannah Nwoko, Parents, 2 Oct. 2023 The second category includes German, Swahili, and Indonesian, which take 36 weeks or 900 class hours — or 25 hours per week. Dobrina Zhekova, Travel + Leisure, 25 Sep. 2023 The show, whose name reportedly derived from the Swahili word variously translated as brotherhood unity or building together, was one of the only hour-long daily programs in a major market designed specifically for a Black audience. Adam Bernstein, Washington Post, 15 Aug. 2023 Ramazani’s eyes lit up big and wide when Kavita began speaking to Ramazani’s family in Swahili. Joseph Goodman, al, 27 July 2023 One such inlet is Jumba beach, which abuts the site of an old Swahili village near the bustling city of Mombasa, in southern Kenya. Juma Adero, The New Yorker, 26 July 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'Swahili.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Arabic sawāḥil, plural of sāḥil coast

First Known Use

1814, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of Swahili was in 1814

Dictionary Entries Near Swahili

Cite this Entry

“Swahili.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/Swahili. Accessed 29 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

Swahili

noun
Swa·​hi·​li swä-ˈhē-lē How to pronounce Swahili (audio)
plural Swahili or Swahilis
1
: a member of a Bantu-speaking people of Zanzibar and the adjacent coast of Africa
2
: a Bantu language that is a trade and governmental language over much of East Africa and in the Congo region
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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