[ lek-si-kon, -kuhn ]
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noun,plural lex·i·ca [lek-si-kuh], /ˈlɛk sɪ kə/, lex·i·cons.
  1. a wordbook or dictionary, especially of Greek, Latin, or Hebrew.

  2. the vocabulary of a particular language, field, social class, person, etc.

  1. inventory or record: unparalleled in the lexicon of human relations.

  2. Linguistics.

    • the total inventory of morphemes in a given language.

    • the inventory of base morphemes plus their combinations with derivational morphemes.

Origin of lexicon

First recorded in 1595–1605; from Modern Latin, from Medieval Greek, Greek lexikòn (biblíon) “word (book),” from lexikón neuter of adjective lexikós “of or pertaining to words” + biblíon “book”; see lexis-ic;see also Bible

word story For lexicon

The noun lexicon comes from New Latin, from Greek lexikòn ( biblíon ) “word (book).” Lexikón is first used for the dictionary of Photius, the 9th-century Byzantine scholar, lexicographer, and patriarch of Constantinople (Photius could very well have coined the Greek word).
English lexicon was first used in the sense “dictionary, wordbook,” and usually referred to dictionaries of Greek and the culturally important Semitic languages (Hebrew, Syriac, Aramaic, Arabic). Dictionaries of these particular languages were traditionally written in Latin, and since Latin had no native word for dictionary, lexicon was the word generally used.
Our English word dictionary comes from Medieval Latin dictiōnārium, the neuter form of dictiōnārius ( liber ) “word (book)”—that is, “a phrase book, a beginner’s textbook (of Latin).”

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British Dictionary definitions for lexicon


/ (ˈlɛksɪkən) /

  1. a dictionary, esp one of an ancient language such as Greek or Hebrew

  2. a list of terms relating to a particular subject

  1. the vocabulary of a language or of an individual

  2. linguistics the set of all the morphemes of a language

Origin of lexicon

C17: New Latin, from Greek lexikon, n use of lexikos relating to words, from Greek lexis word, from legein to speak

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