Try Our Apps


Avoid these words. Seriously.


[gram-er] /ˈgræm ər/
the study of the way the sentences of a language are constructed; morphology and syntax.
these features or constructions themselves:
English grammar.
an account of these features; a set of rules accounting for these constructions:
a grammar of English.
Generative Grammar. a device, as a body of rules, whose output is all of the sentences that are permissible in a given language, while excluding all those that are not permissible.
knowledge or usage of the preferred or prescribed forms in speaking or writing:
She said his grammar was terrible.
the elements of any science, art, or subject.
a book treating such elements.
Origin of grammar
1325-75; Middle English gramery < Old French gramaire < Latin gramatica < Greek grammatikḕ (téchnē) grammatical (art); see -ar2
Related forms
grammarless, adjective
Can be confused
grammar, grandma, grandmother. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for grammar
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • In grammar it is a pronoun of the first person and singular number.

    The Devil's Dictionary Ambrose Bierce
  • The use of the pronoun, the disuse of the grammar pulled him up short.

  • "But it's sure to be him," chattered Simms, his teeth as crazy as his grammar.

    The Channings Mrs. Henry Wood
  • Such may lie even in the region of grammar, or in the mere arrangement of a sentence.

    A Dish Of Orts George MacDonald
  • I do not care to dwell on my experience at the grammar school.

    Ranald Bannerman's Boyhood George MacDonald
British Dictionary definitions for grammar


the branch of linguistics that deals with syntax and morphology, sometimes also phonology and semantics
the abstract system of rules in terms of which a person's mastery of his native language can be explained
a systematic description of the grammatical facts of a language
a book containing an account of the grammatical facts of a language or recommendations as to rules for the proper use of a language
  1. the use of language with regard to its correctness or social propriety, esp in syntax: the teacher told him to watch his grammar
  2. (as modifier): a grammar book
the elementary principles of a science or art: the grammar of drawing
Derived Forms
grammarless, adjective
Word Origin
C14: from Old French gramaire, from Latin grammatica, from Greek grammatikē (tekhnē) the grammatical (art), from grammatikos concerning letters, from gramma letter
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for grammar

early 14c., gramarye (late 12c. in surnames), from Old French gramaire "learning," especially Latin and philology, "grammar, (magic) incantation, spells, mumbo-jumbo," "irregular semi-popular adoption" [OED] of Latin grammatica, from Greek grammatike tekhne "art of letters," with a sense of both philology and literature in the broadest sense, fem. adjective from gramma "letter," from stem of graphein "to draw or write" (see -graphy). An Old English word for it was stæfcræft.

Form grammar is from late 14c. Restriction to "rules of language" is a post-classical development, but as this type of study was until 16c. limited to Latin, Middle English gramarye also came to mean "learning in general, knowledge peculiar to the learned classes" (early 14c.), which included astrology and magic; hence the secondary meaning of "occult knowledge" (late 15c.), which evolved in Scottish into glamor (q.v.).

A grammar school (late 14c.) originally was "a school in which the learned languages are grammatically taught" [Johnson, who also has grammaticaster "a mean verbal pedant"]. In U.S. (1842) the term was put to use in the graded system for "a school between primary and secondary where English grammar is taught."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
grammar in Culture

grammar definition

The rules for standard use of words. A grammar is also a system for classifying and analyzing the elements of language.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Nearby words for grammar

Word Value for grammar

Scrabble Words With Friends