• synonyms


noun Linguistics.
  1. vocal features that accompany speech and contribute to communication but are not generally considered to be part of the language system, as vocal quality, loudness, and tempo: sometimes also including facial expressions and gestures.
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Compare body language.

Origin of paralanguage

First recorded in 1955–60; para-1 + language
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for paralanguage


  1. linguistics nonverbal elements in speech, such as intonation, that may affect the meaning of an utterance
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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 paralanguage


1958, from para- (1) + language.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper