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lingua franca

[frang-kuh]
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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.
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Origin of lingua franca

1670–80; < Italian: literally, Frankish tongue
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for lingua franca

Historical Examples

  • Thus there is now, and perhaps always has been, what may be called a lingua-franca, in the sign vocabulary.

    Sign Language Among North American Indians Compared With That Among Other Peoples And Deaf-Mutes

    Garrick Mallery


British Dictionary definitions for lingua franca

Lingua Franca

noun
  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
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lingua franca

noun plural 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
  3. any system of communication providing mutual understanding
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Word Origin

C17: Italian, literally: Frankish 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

Word Origin and History for lingua franca

n.

1620s, from Italian, literally "Frankish tongue." Originally a form of communication used in the Levant, a stripped-down Italian peppered with Spanish, French, Greek, Arabic, and Turkish words. The name is probably from the Arabic custom, dating back to the Crusades, of calling all Europeans Franks (see Frank). Sometimes in 17c. English sources also known as Bastard Spanish.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper