Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. 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.
  • n. An inhabitant of coastal eastern Africa for whom Swahili is the mother tongue.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • proper n. An agglutinative language widely spoken in East Africa. Born of the hybridization of the Arabic and Bantu cultures, it was the language of the traders in East Africa, and spread along the routes of trade.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. 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

Etymologies

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.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Swahili swahili, from plural of Arabic ساحل (sāḥil, "coast"). (Wiktionary)

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