Meru is a language spoken by perhaps 1,250,000 people in Kenya
Meru is one of the Bantu languages. Its territory lies in central Kenya, to the northeast of its close relative Kikuyu, but almost completely surrounded by Oromo-speaking territory. Meru society, like that of the Kikuyu, was traditionally warlike. Among more peaceable occupations, speakers of Meru are well known as beekeepers.
Thagicu is the name of the region from which, long ago, speakers of Kikuyu and related languages may have dispersed, and Thagicu is now the usual name for the language group to which both belong. Local legend tells of the migration of Meru speakers from the coast around 1700; of their old name, Ngaa; and their new name, Meru, said to mean peaceful place.
Meru serves as a second language for some speakers of smaller neighboring tongues, Chuka and Tharaka.
Meru is also called Kimeru. Some of its dialects include Igembe, Tigania, Imenti, Miutini and Igoji. It is lexically similar to Chuka, Embu, Gikuyu and Kamba.
According to Ethnologue the taxonomy of Meru is
Southern Bantoid (643)
Narrow Bantu (501)
Central Narrow Bantu (328)
Kikuyu-Kamba (E.20) (8)
Another, quite different, community is also called Meru by outsiders. The Meru of Mount Meru in Tanzania call themselves Varwa and speak a Chagga dialect, Kirwa or kiMeru. Their recurrent conflicts with their German and British rulers helped to discredit the Tanganyikan protectorate and bring about independence in 1961.