This is a guide containing useful Swahili words and phrases.
If you are looking for a tool/ Swahili translator for English to Swahili translation as well as Swahili to English translation, I have included one at the bottom of the post. Just scroll down and you will find it. The tool can translate most Swahili words or Swahili phrases into Englsh with reasonable accuracy.
If you are looking to learn Swahili or want a more comprehensive guide, check out the following resources:
- An online Swahili video course taught by an awesome native Swahili speaker
- If you are a toursit traveling to East Africa, you can grab this downloadable Swahili eBook…
Going on a safari in Tanzania? We’ve partnered with the best tour operator offering budget and mid-range safaris to help you plan your safari. Just tell us what you want here and we’ll make it happen at the best price …
And before we proceed, here is a tip on pronunciation that you will find very valuable:
PRONUNCIATION GUIDE: Swahili words are always pronounced the way they are written. Literally. There are no silent letters and every syllable must be enunciated. The letter ‘I’ is pronounced as the ‘ee’ in ‘keep’. And the letter ‘u’ is pronounced as the ‘oo’ in ‘pool’. The stress is always on the second last syllable. The word ‘habari’ therefore becomes ‘haBAree’ and ‘nzuri’ becomes ‘nZOOree’.
Further examples on pronunciation:
Swahili – swaHEElee
Samahani – samaHAnee.
Yetu – YEtoo.
Duka – DOOka.
Suruali – soorooAlee
Krismasi njema – kreesMAsee NJEma
Wewe ni mrembo – Wewe ni mREmbo
Now on to the useful Swahili phrases and words…
This article is pretty comprehensive. I have put together a list of Swahili words and phrases that can be used in as many contexts and circumstances as I could think of.
If you are traveling to East Africa then you are in luck. Being able to say hello and make a few exchanges with the locals in their local language will not only endear you to them, it will make your trip awesome.
Jambo? / hujambo? (how are you?) – sijambo (I am fine).
Habari? (how are you?) – nzuri (fine).
Goodbye – Kwaheri.
Swahili greetings are comprehensively covered in this article on how to say hello in Swahili. Some awesome information in that article. You definitely want to check it out.
Saying Thank you in Swahili + Other Courtesies
Thank you – Asante.
Thank you – Asanteni (to more than one person).
Thank you very much – Asante sana
Please – Tafadhali.
Sorry – Pole.
No problem – Hakuna matata.
Welcome – Karibu.
Excuse me – Samahani.
Don’t worry – usiogope.
What is your name? – Jina lako nani?
My name is Victor – Jina langu ni Victor.
I am an American – Mimi ni Mmarekani.
I am English – Mimi ni Muingereza.
I am Australian – Mimi ni Maustralia.
Swahili Question Words
What? – Nini?
Where? – Wapi?
Which? – ipi? ( or gani?)
Who? – Nani?
Agreements / Disagreements
Ok – Sawa.
Yes – Ndiyo.
No – Hapana.
I understand – Naelewa.
I don’t understand – Sielewi.
I like it – Ninaipenda.
I don’t like it – Siipendi.
Do you like it? – Je, Unaipenda?
Me – Mimi.
You – Wewe.
Him/her – Yeye.
Mine – Yangu.
Yours – Yako.
His/hers – Yake.
Ours – Yetu.
Describing an Object
Big – Kubwa.
Small – Kidogo.
Short – Fupi.
Long – Ndefu.
Color – Rangi.
Black – Nyeusi.
Red – Nyekundu.
Blue – Buluu.
White – Nyeupe.
Green – Kijani.
Swahili Shopping Phrases
Going shopping. These Swahili phrases and words will help you communicate with the seller if they don’t speak English. You might even get a good deal. If there is an English phrase you might want to use but it is not here then pop it onto the Swahili translator to get Swahili translation of the phrase.
Store/shop – Duka.
Grocery store – Soko.
Fashion store – Duka la nguo.
Bookshop – Duka la vitabu.
Pants – Suruali.
Shirt – Shati.
Bag / handbag – Mkoba.
Shoes – Viatu.
Sandals/Flops – Champali.
Beauty products – Mapambo.
Lipstick – Rangi ya mdomo.
Earrings – Herini.
Bracelet – Bangili.
Umbrella – Mwavuli.
Price – Bei.
Money – Pesa.
Cash – pesa taslimu.
How much? – Pesa ngapi?
It is cheap – Ni bei rahisi.
It is expensive – Ni bei ghali.
Do you give discounts? – Je, Unapunguza bei?
Please reduce the price – Tafadhali punguza bei.
I thought it cost just $5 – Nilifikiria ni dola tano(5) tu.
How do I pay? – Ninalipaje?
I have a credit/debit card – Nina kadi.
Dining Phrases/ Eating out / at the Restaurant
Eat – Kula.
Food – Chakula.
Breakfast – Staftahi.
Lunch – Chakula cha mchana.
Dinner – Chakula cha jioni.
Menu – Menyu.
Bill – Bili.
Service – huduma.
Hot – Moto.
Cold – Baridi.
Cup – Kikombe.
Glass – Glesi.
Fork – Uma.
Spoon – Kijiko.
Knife – Kisu.
Plate – Sahani.
Sugar – Sukari.
Pepper – Pilipili.
Fruit – Tunda.
Drinks – Vinywaji.
Cold drink – Kinywaji baridi.
Fruit juice – Maji ya matunda.
Beer – Bia.
Cold beer – Bia baridi.
Tea – Chai.
Coffee – Kahawa.
Soup – Supu.
Chicken – Kuku.
Meat – Nyama.
Fish – Samaki.
Rice – Wali.
Vegetables – Mboga.
Drinking water – Maji ya kunywa.
Clean drinking water – Maji safi ya kunywa.
I am hungry – Nahisi njaa
I am thirsty – Nahisi kiu.
I am full – Nimeshiba.
I want YYY – Nataka YYY.
What would you like to order? – Ungependa kuagiza nini?
What would you recommend? – Ungependekeza nini?
I would like to order YYY – Ningependa kuagiza YYY.
I am vegetarian – Sili nyama.
Enjoy your meal – Furahia chakula chako.
I have enjoyed the meal – Nimefurahia chakula hicho.
It is delicious – Ni tamu sana.
Swahili Love / Flirting Phrases
Want to find love in a Swahili speaking nation? Don’t worry, I got your back.
Love – Upendo.
I like you – Nakupenda.
I love you – Nakupenda.
You are beautiful – Wewe ni mrembo.
You are handsome – Wewe ni mtanashati.
I like your smile – Napenda jinsi unavyotabasamu.
You have a beautiful smile – Tabasamu lako linapendeza.
You have beautiful eyes – Macho yako yanapendeza.
Are you in a relationship – Je, una uhusiano wa kimapenzi na mtu mwingine?
Let’s go back to my place – Twende kwangu.
It is fun hanging out with you – Inafurahisha kuburudika na wewe.
How about we have a drink later today? – Ungependa tupate kinywaji baadaye?
You can have my number – Unaweza chukua namba yangu.
I would like to meet you again – Ningependa kuonana nawe tena.
Call me – Nipigie simu.
I will call you – Nitakupigia simu.
Let’s just be friends – Tuwe tu marafiki 🙁
Out and About
Cab/Taxi – Teksi.
Train – Gari moshi.
Boat – Mashua.
Seat – Kiti.
Ticket – Tiketi.
Fare – Nauli.
Schedule – Ratiba.
Entrance – Kuingia.
Exit – Kutoka.
Right – Kulia.
Left – Kushoto.
I have a question – Nina Swali.
Do you speak English? – Je, Unasema Kiingereza?
I speak English – Ninasema Kiingereza.
I don’t speak English – Sisemi Kiingereza.
I am lost – Nimepotea njia.
I am looking for the Hilton Hotel – Ninatafuta hoteli la Hilton.
I am looking for Tyrion Lannister – Natafuta Tyrion Lannister.
I am going to Winterfell, would you please show me the way? – Naenda Winterfell, tafadhali nionyeshe njia.
Where is Barclays Bank? – Benki la Barclays liko wapi?
Choo kiko wapi? – Where is the washroom?
Where is the bus stop? – Stesheni ya basi iko wapi?
Which bus goes to Winterfell? – Basi gani huenda Winterfell?
Time of Day
Time – Saa.
Morning – Asubuhi.
Afternoon – Mchana.
Evening – Jioni.
Night – Usiku.
What is the time? – Ni saa ngapi?
Swahili Phrases and Words to Use During an Emergency Situation
Help – Msaada.
Quick – Upesi.
Hospital – Hospitali.
Doctor – Daktari.
Medicine – Dawa.
Police – Polisi.
Danger – Hatari.
What has happened? – Nini kimefanyika?
I need a doctor – Ninahitaji daktari.
We need a doctor – Tunahitaji daktari.
Where is the hospital – Hospitali iko wapi?
Can I help you? – Je, naweza kusaidia?
Be careful – Kuwa makini.
Happy birthday – Furaha ya siku ya kuzaliwa.
Merry Christmas – Krismasi njema.
Happy new year – Heri ya mwaka mpya.
Wow! That was a lot of words and phrases.
If there is a Swahili phrase or word you were looking for but you couldn’t find it above, I have included a backup – a Swahili translator. It is one of the translators offered by ImTranslator. It works for both English to Swahili translation and Swahili to English translation. Check it out:
(Click the ‘translate’ button after inputting the phrase you want translated).