[ ing-glishor, often, -lish ]


  1. of, relating to, or characteristic of England or its inhabitants, institutions, etc.
  2. belonging or relating to, or spoken or written in, the English language:

    a high school English class;

    an English translation of a Spanish novel.

  3. of or relating to a person or thing that is not Amish, generally used by Amish people in Anglophone North America:

    The Amish rarely celebrate English holidays like Labor Day.

    He fixed a rabbit hutch for his English neighbor.


  1. (used with a plural verb) the people of England collectively, especially as distinguished from the Scots, Welsh, and Irish.
  2. the Germanic language of England, widespread and standard also in the United States, Canada, and other countries colonized or settled by England, historically termed Old English (c450–c1150), Middle English (c1150–c1475), and Modern English (after c1475). : E
  3. English language, composition, and literature as offered as a course of study in school.
  4. a specific variety of the English language, as that of a particular time, place, or person:

    Shakespearean English;

    American English.

  5. simple, straightforward language:

    What does all that jargon mean in English?

  6. Sports. (sometimes lowercase)
    1. a spinning motion imparted to a ball, especially in billiards.
  7. Printing. a 14-point type of a size between pica and Columbian.
  8. a grade of calendered paper having a smooth matte finish.
  9. (used with a plural verb) people who are not Amish, generally used by Amish people in Anglophone North America:

    More Amish than English live in this county.

verb (used with object)

  1. to translate into English:

    to English Euripides.

  2. to adopt (a foreign word) into English; Anglicize.
  3. (sometimes lowercase) Sports. to impart spin to (a ball).


/ ˈɪŋɡlɪʃ /


  1. 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 branch See also Middle English Old English Modern English
  2. the English
    functioning as plural the natives or inhabitants of England collectively
  3. (formerly) a size of printer's type approximately equal to 14 point
  4. an old style of black-letter typeface
  5. often not capital the usual US and Canadian term for side


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


  1. archaic.
    to translate or adapt into English Anglo-

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Derived Forms

  • ˈEnglishness, noun

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Other Words From

  • Eng·lish·ness noun
  • an·ti-Eng·lish adjective
  • half-Eng·lish adjective
  • non-Eng·lish adjective noun
  • pre-Eng·lish adjective
  • pro-Eng·lish adjective
  • pseu·do-Eng·lish adjective
  • qua·si-Eng·lish adjective

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Word History and Origins

Origin of English1

First recorded before 900; Middle English; Old English Englisc, equivalent to Engle (plural) “the English” (compare Latin Anglī “the Angles,” a branch of the Suevians + -isc; Angle, Anglic, -ish 1

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Idioms and Phrases

see body English ; in plain English .

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Example Sentences

That means families who move frequently, change cellphone numbers or do not speak English can be left out of the loop and can be difficult to find.

Until last year, Tikhanovskaya, now 38, was a full-time mother, planning to pick up her earlier career as an English teacher.

From Time

Two hundred years ago this week, English poet John Keats died of tuberculosis, in Rome, at the age of 25.

In recent weeks, two prominent journalists have been disciplined, largely because of uttering, or defending, the use of the worst racial slur in the English language.

By recovering those parts, we can allow all the things that are going on in English literature departments to continue.

His first language was Russian, then he learned Swedish, but chooses to perform in monosyllabic broken English.

“Gently rolling hills” roll not-so-gently under my tires, but the English countryside scenery is soporific.

Her phone rings at least once an hour with questions from journalists, which she answers in Arabic, English, and sometimes French.

“Deck the Halls” was written back in the 16th century, when the English language was very different.

You mix up English working-class gruffness with African-American soul from the Deep South.

Thomas Cooper, an English prelate, died; highly commended for his great learning and eloquence.

A fancy came into my head that I would entertain the king and queen with an English tune upon this instrument.

Dockier, a prominent leader of the Levelers, in the times of the English commonwealth, was shot by order of the government.

It seems to me that such verses as these might very well have satisfied the English admirers of Klopstock.

William Woodville died; a distinguished English physician and medical writer.


Definitions and idiom definitions from Unabridged, based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

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




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