[sol-uh-siz-uh m, soh-luh-]


a nonstandard or ungrammatical usage, as unflammable and they was.
a breach of good manners or etiquette.
any error, impropriety, or inconsistency.

Origin of solecism

1570–80; < Latin soloecismus < Greek soloikismós, equivalent to sóloik(os) (Sólo(i) a city in Cilicia where a corrupt form of Attic Greek was spoken + -ikos -ic) + -ismos -ism
Related formssol·e·cist, nounsol·e·cis·tic, sol·e·cis·ti·cal, adjectivesol·e·cis·ti·cal·ly, adverb
Can be confusedsolecism solipsism Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for solecism

Contemporary Examples of solecism

Historical Examples of solecism

  • It would be a solecism in language to say that any portion of these is not included in the whole.

  • Le jument est beau was a solecism that could not longer be tolerated.


    George Borrow

  • His trust was warranted, until Landor detected the solecism.


    Sir Walter Alexander Raleigh

  • The solecism, if such it be, was repeated in Marino Faliero, act iii.

  • Well-bred mothers have been known to resent this solecism keenly.

    Social Life

    Maud C. Cooke

British Dictionary definitions for solecism



  1. the nonstandard use of a grammatical construction
  2. any mistake, incongruity, or absurdity
a violation of good manners
Derived Formssolecist, nounsolecistic or solecistical, adjectivesolecistically, adverb

Word Origin for solecism

C16: from Latin soloecismus, from Greek soloikismos, from soloikos speaking incorrectly, from Soloi an Athenian colony of Cilicia where the inhabitants spoke a corrupt form of Greek
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 solecism

"gross grammatical error;" loosely "any absurdity or incongruity," 1570s, from Middle French solécisme (16c.), from Latin soloecismus "mistake in speaking or writing," from Greek soloikismos "to speak (Greek) incorrectly," from soloikos "ungrammatical utterance," properly "a speaking like the people of Soloi," an Athenian colony in Cilicia (modern Mezitli in Turkey), whose dialect the Athenians considered barbarous. Related: Solecistic.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper