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lingua franca

[frang-kuh] /ˈfræŋ kə/
noun, plural lingua francas, linguae francae
[ling-gwee fran-see] /ˈlɪŋ gwi ˈfræn si/ (Show IPA)
any language that is widely used as a means of communication among speakers of other languages.
(initial capital letter) the Italian-Provençal jargon (with elements of Spanish, French, Greek, Arabic, and Turkish) formerly widely used in eastern Mediterranean ports.
Origin of lingua franca
1670-80; < Italian: literally, Frankish tongue Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for lingua franca
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He speaks the language of Mota, the lingua franca here, you know.

    Life of John Coleridge Patteson Charlotte M. Yonge
  • "This is the ketch Stella, from Malta," he said in the lingua franca of the East.

    Twelve Naval Captains Molly Elliot Seawell
  • One of them spoke now in Songhoi, the lingua franca of the vicinity.

    Black Man's Burden Dallas McCord Reynolds
  • Riuku cursed her again, in the lingua franca of a dozen systems.

  • Having said this, the Moor asked several questions—through the negro, and always in the lingua franca.

    The Middy and the Moors R.M. Ballantyne
  • Going humbly towards this Arab, the negro asked him in lingua franca if there was anything unusual going on in the town?

    The Middy and the Moors R.M. Ballantyne
  • He spoke in lingua franca, which Foster understood pretty well by that time.

    The Middy and the Moors R.M. Ballantyne
British Dictionary definitions for lingua franca

lingua franca

/ˈlɪŋɡwə ˈfræŋkə/
noun (pl) lingua francas, linguae francae (ˈlɪŋɡwiː ˈfrænsiː)
a language used for communication among people of different mother tongues
a hybrid language containing elements from several different languages used in this way
any system of communication providing mutual understanding
Word Origin
C17: Italian, literally: Frankish tongue

Lingua Franca

a particular lingua franca spoken from the time of the Crusades to the 18th century in the ports of the Mediterranean, based on Italian, Spanish, French, Arabic, Greek, and Turkish
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 lingua franca

1620s, from Italian, literally "Frankish tongue." Originally a form of communication used in the Levant, a stripped-down Italian peppered with Spanish, French, Greek, Arabic, and Turkish words. The name is probably from the Arabic custom, dating back to the Crusades, of calling all Europeans Franks (see Frank). Sometimes in 17c. English sources also known as Bastard Spanish.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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