a specialist in linguistics.
a person who is skilled in several languages; polyglot.

Origin of linguist

1580–90; < Latin lingu(a) tongue, speech + -ist Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for linguist

Contemporary Examples of linguist

Historical Examples of linguist

  • His tongue is very voluble, which, with canting, proves him a linguist.

  • Mr Plornish could not conceal his exultation in her accomplishments as a linguist.

    Little Dorrit

    Charles Dickens

  • A Linguist of nearly 40 years standing, and nearly 20 years resident abroad.

  • Put your qualification as a resident merchant and as a linguist as strongly as you like.

    At Aboukir and Acre

    George Alfred Henty

  • The keeper of the house where they lodged was in his way a character and a linguist.

    The Gypsies

    Charles G. Leland

British Dictionary definitions for linguist



a person who has the capacity to learn and speak foreign languages
a person who studies linguistics
Western African and esp Ghanaian the spokesman for a chief

Word Origin for linguist

C16: 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

Word Origin and History for linguist

1580s, "a master of language, one who uses his tongue freely," a hybrid from Latin lingua "language, tongue" (see lingual) + -ist. Meaning "a student of language" first attested 1640s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper