descriptive linguistics

noun (used with a singular verb)

the study of the grammar, classification, and arrangement of the features of a language at a given time, without reference to the history of the language or comparison with other languages.

Nearby words

  1. descriptive bibliography,
  2. descriptive cataloging,
  3. descriptive clause,
  4. descriptive geometry,
  5. descriptive grammar,
  6. descriptive metaphysics,
  7. descriptive notation,
  8. descriptive statistics,
  9. descriptivism,
  10. descriptivist

Origin of descriptive linguistics

First recorded in 1925–30

Also called synchronic linguistics. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for descriptive linguistics

descriptive linguistics


(functioning as singular) the study of the description of the internal phonological, grammatical, and semantic structures of languages at given points in time without reference to their histories or to one anotherAlso called: synchronic linguistics Compare historical linguistics
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