Swahili 101

Swahili Word List

The purpose of this list is to give a rough idea of the Swahili language. The words listed below are not the most common words, but a broad sampling of words. See the Word Lists page for more details.

English

Swahili
(kiswahili)
I

mimi
you (singular)

wewe
he

yeye
we

sisi
you (plural)

nyinyi
they

wao
this

huyu (person), hii, hiki, hili, huu
that

lile, ule, yule, ile, kile
here

hapa
there

pale
who

nani *(interrogative)*
what

nini *(interrogative)*
where

wapi *(no movement, interrogative)*
when

lini *(interrogative)*
how

vipi *(interrogative)*
not

si
all

-ote
many

sana *(very)* / -ingi *(numerous)*
some

baadhi ya / chache
few

kidogo
other

-ingine
one

moja
two

mbili
three

tatu
four

nne
five

tano
big

-kubwa
long

-refu
wide

-pana
thick

-nene
heavy

-zito
small

-dogo
short

-fupi
narrow

-embamba
thin

-anana
woman

bibi, gashi
man (adult male)

mwanamume
man (human being)

mtu
child

mtoto
wife

mke
husband

mume
mother

mama
father

baba
animal

mnyama
fish

samaki
bird

ndege
dog

mbwa
louse

chawa
snake

nyoka
worm

funza, uchango
tree

mti
forest

msitu
stick

fimbo
fruit

tunda
seed

mbegu
leaf

jani
root

mzizi
bark (of a tree)

gamba
flower

ua
grass

nyasi
rope

kamba
skin

ngozi
meat

nyama
blood

damu
bone

mfupa
fat (noun)

mori
egg

yai
horn

pembe
tail

mkia
feather

unyoya
hair

nywele
head

kichwa
ear

sikio
eye

jicho
nose

pua
mouth

kinywa
tooth

jino
tongue (organ)

ulimi
fingernail

ukucha
foot

mguu
leg

mguu
knee

goti
hand

mkono
wing

bawa, ubawa
belly

tumbo
guts

utumbo
neck

shingo
back

mgongo
breast

kifua
heart

moyo
liver

ini
to drink

-nywa
to eat

-la
to bite

-donoa
to suck

-amwa
to spit

-tema
to vomit

-tapika
to blow

-puliza
to breathe

-pumua
to laugh

-cheka
to see

-ona
to hear

-sikia
to know

-fahamu, -jua
to think

-fikiri, -dhani, -waza
to smell

-nukilia
to fear

-ogopa
to sleep

-lala
to live

-ishi (in a place)
to die

-fa
to kill

-ua
to fight

-pigana
to hunt

-winda
to hit

-gonga, -piga
to cut

-kata
to split

-pasua
to stab

-choma
to scratch

-kuna, -parua
to dig

-chimba
to swim

-ogelea
to fly

-paa
to walk

-tembea
to come

-ja
to lie (as in a bed)

-gona *(action)*
to sit

-kaa
to stand

-simama *(action)*
to turn (intransitive)

-pindua
to fall

-anguka
to give

-pa
to hold

-shika
to squeeze

-kaba, -minya, -kamua
to rub

-sugua
to wash

-safisha
to wipe

-futa
to pull

-vuta
to push

-guta
to throw

-tupa
to tie

-funga
to sew

-shona
to count

-hesabu
to say

-sema
to sing

-imba
to play

-cheza
to float

-elea
to flow

-tiririka
to freeze

-ganda
to swell

-fura
sun

jua
moon

mwezi
star

nyota
water

maji
rain

mvua
river

mto
lake

ziwa
sea

bahari
salt

chumvi
stone

jiwe
sand

mchanga
dust

vumbi
earth

ardhi
cloud

wingu
fog

ukungu
sky

mbingu
wind

homu
snow

theluji
ice

barafu
smoke

moshi
fire

moto
ash

majivu
to burn

-waka
road

njia, barabara
mountain

mlima
red

-ekundu
green

kijani
yellow

manjano
white

-eupe
black

-eusi
night

usiku
day

siku
year

mwaka
warm

moto
cold

baridi
full

-nene
new

-pya
old

-zee
good

-ema
bad

-baya
rotten

-bovu
dirty

-chafu
straight

nyofu
round

duara
sharp (as a knife)

chungu
dull (as a knife)

butu
smooth

-ororo
wet

kimaji
dry

-kavu
correct

sahihi
near

karibu
far

mbali
right

kuume, kulia

View other word lists here