[ kuh-loh-kwee-uhl ]
/ kəˈloʊ kwi əl /


characteristic of or appropriate to ordinary or familiar conversation rather than formal speech or writing; informal.
involving or using conversation.

Nearby words

  1. collop,
  2. collophane,
  3. collophore,
  4. colloq.,
  5. colloquia,
  6. colloquialism,
  7. colloquium,
  8. colloquy,
  9. collotype,
  10. collude

Origin of colloquial

First recorded in 1745–55; colloquy + -al1

Related forms

Synonym study

1, 2. Colloquial, conversational, informal refer to types of speech or to usages not on a formal level. Colloquial is often mistakenly used with a connotation of disapproval, as if it meant “vulgar” or “bad” or “incorrect” usage, whereas it is merely a familiar style used in speaking and writing. Conversational refers to a style used in the oral exchange of ideas, opinions, etc.: an easy conversational style. Informal means without formality, without strict attention to set forms, unceremonious: an informal manner of speaking; it describes the ordinary, everyday language of cultivated speakers. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for colloquial

British Dictionary definitions for colloquial


/ (kəˈləʊkwɪəl) /


of or relating to conversation
denoting or characterized by informal or conversational idiom or vocabularyCompare informal
Derived Formscolloquially, adverbcolloquialness, noun

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

Word Origin and History for colloquial



1751, from colloquy "a conversation" + -al (1). Related: Colloquially.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper