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[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.
  3. inventory or record: unparalleled in the lexicon of human relations.
  4. Linguistics.
    1. the total inventory of morphemes in a given language.
    2. the inventory of base morphemes plus their combinations with derivational morphemes.
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Origin of lexicon

1595–1605; < Medieval Latin < Medieval Greek, Greek lexikón, noun use of neuter of lexikós of words, equivalent to léx(is) speech, word (see lexis) + -ikos -ic


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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for lexicon


  1. a dictionary, esp one of an ancient language such as Greek or Hebrew
  2. a list of terms relating to a particular subject
  3. the vocabulary of a language or of an individual
  4. linguistics the set of all the morphemes of a language
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Word Origin

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

Word Origin and History for lexicon


c.1600, "a dictionary," from Middle French lexicon or directly from Modern Latin lexicon, from Greek lexikon (biblion) "word (book)," from neuter of lexikos "pertaining to words," from lexis "word," from legein "say" (see lecture (n.)).

Used originally of dictionaries of Greek, Syriac, Hebrew and Arabic, because these typically were in Latin and in Modern Latin lexicon, not dictionarius, was the preferred word. The modern sense of "vocabulary proper to some sphere of activity" (1640s) is a figurative extension.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper