[ dahy-uh-lekt ]
See synonyms for: dialectdialects on Thesaurus.com

  1. Linguistics. a variety of a language that is distinguished from other varieties of the same language by features of phonology, grammar, and vocabulary, and by its use by a group of speakers who are set off from others geographically or socially.

  2. a provincial, rural, or socially distinct variety of a language that differs from the standard language, especially when considered as substandard.

  1. a special variety of a language: The literary dialect is usually taken as the standard language.

  2. a language considered as one of a group that have a common ancestor: Persian, Latin, and English are Indo-European dialects.

  3. jargon or cant.

Origin of dialect

First recorded in 1545–55; from Latin dialectus, from Greek diálektos “discourse, language, dialect,” equivalent to dialég(esthai) “to converse” (dia- “through, between” + légein “to speak”) + -tos verbal adjective suffix; see origin at dia-

synonym study For dialect

2. See language.

Other words for dialect

Other words from dialect

  • sub·di·a·lect, noun

Words Nearby dialect

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use dialect in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for dialect


/ (ˈdaɪəˌlɛkt) /

    • a form of a language spoken in a particular geographical area or by members of a particular social class or occupational group, distinguished by its vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation

    • a form of a language that is considered inferior: the farmer spoke dialect and was despised by the merchants

    • (as modifier): a dialect word

Origin of dialect

C16: from Latin dialectus, from Greek dialektos speech, dialect, discourse, from dialegesthai to converse, from legein to talk, speak

Derived forms of dialect

  • dialectal, adjective

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