• synonyms


[floo-uh nt]
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  1. spoken or written with ease: fluent French.
  2. able to speak or write smoothly, easily, or readily: a fluent speaker; fluent in six languages.
  3. easy; graceful: fluent motion; fluent curves.
  4. flowing, as a stream.
  5. capable of flowing; fluid, as liquids or gases.
  6. easily changed or adapted; pliant.
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Origin of fluent

1580–90; < Latin fluent- (stem of fluēns) flowing, present participle of fluere; see -ent
Related formsflu·en·cy, flu·ent·ness, nounflu·ent·ly, adverbnon·flu·en·cy, nounnon·flu·ent, adjectivenon·flu·ent·ly, adverbnon·flu·ent·ness, nouno·ver·flu·en·cy, nouno·ver·flu·ent, adjectiveo·ver·flu·ent·ly, adverbo·ver·flu·ent·ness, nountrans·flu·ent, adjectiveun·flu·ent, adjectiveun·flu·ent·ly, adverb


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1, 2. Fluent, glib, voluble may refer to a flow of words. Fluent suggests the easy and ready flow of an accomplished speaker and is usually a term of commendation: a fluent and interesting speech. Glib implies an excessive fluency divorced from sincerity or profundity; it often suggests talking smoothly and hurriedly to cover up or deceive, not giving the hearer a chance to stop and think; it may also imply a plausible, prepared, and well-rehearsed lie: He had a glib answer for everything. Voluble implies the overcopious and often rapid flow of words characteristic of a person who loves to talk: She overwhelmed him with her voluble answer. See also eloquent.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

eloquence, facility, volubility

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British Dictionary definitions for fluency


  1. the quality of being fluent, esp facility in speech or writing
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  1. able to speak or write a specified foreign language with facility
  2. spoken or written with facilityhis French is fluent
  3. easy and graceful in motion or shape
  4. flowing or able to flow freely
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Derived Formsfluently, adverb

Word Origin

C16: from Latin: flowing, from fluere to flow
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 fluency


1620s, "abundance," later "smooth and easy flow" (1630s), from fluent + -cy. Replaced earlier fluence (c.1600).

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1580s, "flowing freely" (of water, also of speech), from Latin fluentem (nominative fluens) "lax, relaxed," figuratively "flowing, fluent," present participle of fluere "to flow, stream, run, melt," from PIE *bhleugw-, extended form of *bhleu- "to swell, well up, overflow" (cf. Latin flumen "river;" Greek phluein "to boil over, bubble up," phlein "to abound"), an extension of root *bhel- (2) "to blow, inflate, swell;" see bole. Used interchangeably with fluid in Elizabethan times. Related: Fluently.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper