[ sin-taks ]
/ ˈsɪn tæks /
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  1. the study of the rules for the formation of grammatical sentences in a language.
  2. the study of the patterns of formation of sentences and phrases from words.
  3. the rules or patterns so studied: English syntax.
  4. a presentation of these: a syntax of English.
  5. an instance of these: the syntax of a sentence.
  1. that branch of modern logic that studies the various kinds of signs that occur in a system and the possible arrangements of those signs, complete abstraction being made of the meaning of the signs.
  2. the outcome of such a study when directed upon a specified language.
a system or orderly arrangement.
Computers. the grammatical rules and structural patterns governing the ordered use of appropriate words and symbols for issuing commands, writing code, etc., in a particular software application or programming language.
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Origin of syntax

1565–75; short for earlier syntaxis<Late Latin <Greek sýntaxis an arranging in order, equivalent to syntag- (see syntactic) + -sis-sis
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use syntax in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for syntax

/ (ˈsɪntæks) /

the branch of linguistics that deals with the grammatical arrangement of words and morphemes in the sentences of a language or of languages in general
the totality of facts about the grammatical arrangement of words in a language
a systematic statement of the rules governing the grammatical arrangement of words and morphemes in a language
logic a systematic statement of the rules governing the properly formed formulas of a logical system
any orderly arrangement or system

Word Origin for syntax

C17: from Late Latin syntaxis, from Greek suntaxis, from suntassein to put in order, from syn- + tassein to arrange
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

Cultural definitions for syntax


The sequence in which words are put together to form sentences. In English, the usual sequence is subject, verb, and object.

notes for syntax

Syntactic languages, such as English, use word order to indicate word relationships. Inflected languages (see inflection), such as Greek and Latin, use word endings and other inflections to indicate relationships.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.