lingua franca

[ frang-kuh ]
See synonyms for lingua franca on
noun,plural lingua francas, lin·guae fran·cae [ling-gwee fran-see]. /ˈlɪŋ gwi ˈfræn si/.
  1. any language that is widely used as a means of communication among speakers of other languages.

  2. (initial capital letter) the Italian-Provençal jargon (with elements of Spanish, French, Greek, Arabic, and Turkish) formerly widely used in eastern Mediterranean ports.

Origin of lingua franca

1670–80; <Italian: literally, Frankish tongue

Words Nearby lingua franca Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use lingua franca in a sentence

  • Having said this, the Moor asked several questions—through the negro, and always in the lingua franca.

    The Middy and the Moors | R.M. Ballantyne
  • He spoke in lingua franca, which Foster understood pretty well by that time.

    The Middy and the Moors | R.M. Ballantyne
  • In course of time, Arabic replaced the Aramean dialect, and became the lingua franca of the Jews.

  • Wobanguli began speaking in sonorous tones, using Malay-Dyak dialect, the lingua franca of the residency.

    The Argus Pheasant | John Charles Beecham
  • The Arabic language has been the lingua franca of the East from the time that it succeeded Greek in the seventh century.

    The Oriental Rug | William D. Ellwanger

British Dictionary definitions for lingua franca (1 of 2)

lingua franca

/ (ˈlɪŋɡwə ˈfræŋkə) /

nounplural lingua francas or linguae francae (ˈlɪŋɡwiː ˈfrænsiː)
  1. a language used for communication among people of different mother tongues

  2. a hybrid language containing elements from several different languages used in this way

  1. any system of communication providing mutual understanding

Origin of lingua franca

C17: Italian, literally: Frankish tongue

British Dictionary definitions for Lingua Franca (2 of 2)

Lingua Franca

  1. a particular lingua franca spoken from the time of the Crusades to the 18th century in the ports of the Mediterranean, based on Italian, Spanish, French, Arabic, Greek, and Turkish

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