[ lang-gwij ]
/ ˈlæŋ gwɪdʒ /

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Origin of language

1250–1300; Middle English < Anglo-French, variant spelling of langage, derivative of langue tongue. See lingua, -age


2 See speech.
4, 9 tongue; terminology; lingo, lingua franca. Language, dialect, jargon, vernacular refer to linguistic configurations of vocabulary, syntax, phonology, and usage that are characteristic of communities of various sizes and types. Language is a broad term applied to the overall linguistic configurations that allow a particular people to communicate: the English language; the French language. Dialect is applied to certain forms or varieties of a language, often those that provincial communities or special groups retain (or develop) even after a standard has been established: Scottish dialect; regional dialect; Southern dialect. A jargon is either an artificial linguistic configuration used by a particular (usually occupational) group within a community or a special configuration created for communication in a particular business or trade or for communication between members of groups that speak different languages: computer jargon; the Chinook jargon. A vernacular is the authentic natural pattern--the ordinary speech--of a given language, now usually on the informal level. It is at once congruent with and, in relatively small ways, distinguished from the standard language in syntax, vocabulary, usage, and pronunciation. It is used by persons indigenous to a certain community, large or small.


pre·lan·guage, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Examples from the Web for language

British Dictionary definitions for language

/ (ˈlæŋɡwɪdʒ) /


Word Origin for language

C13: from Old French langage, ultimately from Latin lingua tongue
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

Scientific definitions for language

[ lănggwĭj ]

A system of objects or symbols, such as sounds or character sequences, that can be combined in various ways following a set of rules, especially to communicate thoughts, feelings, or instructions. See also machine language programming language.
The set of patterns or structures produced by such a system.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.