noun, plural Swa·hi·lis, (especially collectively) Swa·hi·li for 1.
- a member of a Bantu people of Zanzibar and the neighboring coast of Africa.
- Also Kiswahili, ki-Swahili. the Bantu language of the Swahili people, used also as a lingua franca in Tanzania, Kenya, and parts of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
- 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
- Also called: Mswahili, Waswahili plural -lis or -li a member of a people speaking this language, living chiefly in Zanzibar
- of or relating to the Swahilis or their language
name of a Bantu people inhabiting the coast of South Africa, 1814, from Arabic sawahil, plural of sahil “coast” + gentilic suffix -i.