- a body of words and the systems for their use common to a people who are of the same community or nation, the same geographical area, or the same cultural tradition: the two languages of Belgium; a Bantu language; the French language; the Yiddish language.
- communication by voice in the distinctively human manner, using arbitrary sounds in conventional ways with conventional meanings; speech.
- the system of linguistic signs or symbols considered in the abstract (opposed to speech).
- any set or system of such symbols as used in a more or less uniform fashion by a number of people, who are thus enabled to communicate intelligibly with one another.
- any system of formalized symbols, signs, sounds, gestures, or the like used or conceived as a means of communicating thought, emotion, etc.: the language of mathematics; sign language.
- the means of communication used by animals: the language of birds.
- communication of meaning in any way; medium that is expressive, significant, etc.: the language of flowers; the language of art.
- linguistics; the study of language.
- the speech or phraseology peculiar to a class, profession, etc.; lexis; jargon.
- a particular manner of verbal expression: flowery language.
- choice of words or style of writing; diction: the language of poetry.
- Computers. a set of characters and symbols and syntactic rules for their combination and use, by means of which a computer can be given directions: The language of many commercial application programs is COBOL.
- a nation or people considered in terms of their speech.
- Archaic. faculty or power of speech.
Origin of language
SynonymsSee more synonyms for language on Thesaurus.com
- a system for the expression of thoughts, feelings, etc, by the use of spoken sounds or conventional symbols
- the faculty for the use of such systems, which is a distinguishing characteristic of man as compared with other animals
- the language of a particular nation or peoplethe French language
- any other systematic or nonsystematic means of communicating, such as gesture or animal soundsthe language of love
- the specialized vocabulary used by a particular groupmedical language
- a particular manner or style of verbal expressionyour language is disgusting
- computing See programming language
- speak the same language to communicate with understanding because of common background, values, etc
Word Origin and History for pre-language
late 13c., langage "words, what is said, conversation, talk," from Old French langage (12c.), from Vulgar Latin *linguaticum, from Latin lingua "tongue," also "speech, language" (see lingual). The form with -u- developed in Anglo-French. Meaning "a language" is from c.1300, also used in Middle English of dialects:
Mercii, þat beeþ men of myddel Engelond[,] vnderstondeþ bettre þe side langages, norþerne and souþerne, þan norþerne and souþerne vnderstondeþ eiþer oþer. [John of Trevisa, translation of Bartholomew de Glanville's "De proprietatibus rerum," 1398]
In oþir inglis was it drawin, And turnid ic haue it til ur awin Language of the norþin lede, Þat can na noþir inglis rede. ["Cursor Mundi," early 14c.]
Language barrier attested from 1933.
- A system of objects or symbols, such as sounds or character sequences, that can be combined in various ways following a set of rules, especially to communicate thoughts, feelings, or instructions. See also machine language programming language.
- The set of patterns or structures produced by such a system.