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[in-doh-yoo r-uh-pee-uh n] /ˈɪn doʊˌyʊər əˈpi ən/
a large, widespread family of languages, the surviving branches of which include Italic, Slavic, Baltic, Hellenic, Celtic, Germanic, and Indo-Iranian, spoken by about half the world's population: English, Spanish, German, Latin, Greek, Russian, Albanian, Lithuanian, Armenian, Persian, Hindi, and Hittite are all Indo-European languages.
Compare family (def 14).
a member of any of the peoples speaking an Indo-European language.
of or belonging to Indo-European.
speaking an Indo-European language:
an Indo-European people.
Origin of Indo-European
First recorded in 1805-15
Related forms
non-Indo-European, adjective, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for Indo-European
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • (d) and last, general questions on the comparative grammar and syntax of the Indo-European languages.

    Cambridge Mildred Anna Rosalie Tuker
  • It has no connexion with Indo-European, as has erroneously been supposed.

  • If they played so large a part in Indo-European culture, it is strange that they have left so few remains.

  • It is the very fons et origo of our Indo-European ancestors.

    The Cradle of Mankind W.A. Wigram
  • A second feature of Indo-European culture is the rise of the chieftain.

  • To be simply like the Greek is not enough; nor yet to be what is called Indo-European.

    The Ethnology of Europe Robert Gordon Latham
  • I believe that this determined the position of the Celtic in the Indo-European group.

    Opuscula Robert Gordon Latham
  • Yet both of these equally belong to the Indo-European linguistic family.

    The Heroic Age H. Munro Chadwick
  • In the Indo-European languages the numerals agree, even when many common terms differ.

    The English Language Robert Gordon Latham
British Dictionary definitions for Indo-European


denoting, belonging to, or relating to a family of languages that includes English and many other culturally and politically important languages of the world: a characteristic feature, esp of the older languages such as Latin, Greek, and Sanskrit, is inflection showing gender, number, and case
denoting or relating to the hypothetical parent language of this family, primitive Indo-European
denoting, belonging to, or relating to any of the peoples speaking these languages
the Indo-European family of languages
Also called primitive Indo-European, Proto-Indo-European. the reconstructed hypothetical parent language of this family
a member of the prehistoric people who spoke this language
a descendant of this people or a native speaker of an Indo-European language
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
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Word Origin and History for Indo-European

1814, coined by physician, physicist and Egyptologist Thomas Young (1773-1829) and first used in an article in the "Quarterly Review," from Indo-, comb. form of Greek Indos "India" + European. "Common to India and Europe," specifically in reference to the group of related languages and to the race or races characterized by their use. The alternative Indo-Germanic (1835) was coined in German 1823 (indogermanisch), based on the two peoples at the extremes of the geographic area covered by the languages, before Celtic was realized also to be an Indo-European language. After this was proved, many German scholars switched to Indo-European as more accurate, but Indo-Germanic continued in use (popularized by the titles of major works) and the predominance of German scholarship in this field made it the popular term in England, too, through the 19c. See also Aryan.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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