English

[ing-glish or, often, -lish]
|

adjective

of, relating to, or characteristic of England or its inhabitants, institutions, etc.
belonging or relating to, or spoken or written in, the English language: a high-school English class; an English translation of a Spanish novel.

noun

verb (used with object)


Origin of English

before 900; Middle English; Old English Englisc, equivalent to Engle (plural) the English (compare Latin Anglī; see Angle) + -isc -ish1
Related formsEng·lish·ness, nounan·ti-Eng·lish, adjectivehalf-Eng·lish, adjectivenon-Eng·lish, adjective, nounpre-Eng·lish, adjectivepro-Eng·lish, adjectivepseu·do-Eng·lish, adjectivequa·si-Eng·lish, adjective

world Englishes

[ing-gli-shiz ing-li-shiz]

plural noun

the many and varied dialects of English spoken in different parts of the world, including not only American and British English, but such varieties as Indian, Pakistani, Australian, and New Zealand English, as well as the English spoken in various African and Asian countries. In some parts of the world, English is spoken as a natural outgrowth of a colonial period during which certain countries, now independent, were part of the British Empire. In other places, people have been encouraged to learn English because of its widespread use as a language of global communication.
Also called varieties of English.

Word story

In the singular form, the term world English refers to a movement to promote the use of English globally as an official lingua franca, a means of worldwide communication. There is, however, some concern about whether or not there should be a single standard form of this global language.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for english

Contemporary Examples of english

Historical Examples of english

  • However, there was one comfort—English tongues answered, if it was only with denials.

    The Armourer's Prentices

    Charlotte M. Yonge

  • Lucas spoke to him in Flemish to explain his own return with the English prentice.

    The Armourer's Prentices

    Charlotte M. Yonge

  • They have seen the telegraph line, as can be seen by signs they make, but they cannot speak English.

  • "You see we do not follow the English style," said the smooth hostess to Philip.

    Malbone

    Thomas Wentworth Higginson

  • "I'd like to recite English in one of your classes, Emma," smiled Grace.


British Dictionary definitions for english

English

noun

the official language of Britain, the US, most parts of the Commonwealth, and certain other countries. It is the native language of over 280 million people and is acquired as a second language by many more. It is an Indo-European language belonging to the West Germanic branchSee also Middle English, Old English, Modern English
the English (functioning as plural) the natives or inhabitants of England collectively
(formerly) a size of printer's type approximately equal to 14 point
an old style of black-letter typeface
(often not capital) the usual US and Canadian term for side (def. 16)

adjective

denoting, using, or relating to the English language
relating to or characteristic of England or the English

verb (tr)

archaic to translate or adapt into EnglishRelated prefix: Anglo-
Derived FormsEnglishness, 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 english

English

n.1

"people of England; the speech of England," Old English Englisc (contrasted to Denisc, Frencisce, etc.), from Engle (plural) "the Angles," the name of one of the Germanic groups that overran the island 5c., supposedly so-called because Angul, the land they inhabited on the Jutland coast, was shaped like a fish hook (see angle (n.)).

The term was used from earliest times without distinction for all the Germanic invaders -- Angles, Saxon, Jutes (Bede's gens Anglorum) -- and applied to their group of related languages by Alfred the Great. After 1066, of the population of England (as distinguished from Normans and French), a distinction which lasted only about a generation.

In pronunciation, "En-" has become "In-," but the older spelling has remained. Meaning "English language or literature as a subject at school" is from 1889. As an adjective, "of or belonging to England," from late 13c. Old English is from early 13c.

English

n.2

"spin imparted to a ball" (as in billiards), 1860, from French anglé "angled" (see angle (n.)), which is similar to Anglais "English."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with english

English

see body English; in plain English.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.