[ ver-nak-yuh-ler, vuh-nak- ]
See synonyms for vernacular on
  1. (of language) native to a place (opposed to literary).

  2. expressed or written in the native language of a place, as literary works: a vernacular poem.

  1. using such a language: a vernacular speaker.

  2. of or relating to such a language.

  3. using plain, everyday, ordinary language.

  4. of, relating to, or characteristic of architectural vernacular.

  5. noting or pertaining to the common name for a plant or animal.

  6. Obsolete. (of a disease) endemic.

  1. the native speech or language of a place.

  2. the language or vocabulary peculiar to a class or profession.

  1. a vernacular word or expression.

  2. the plain variety of language in everyday use by ordinary people.

  3. the common name of an animal or plant as distinguished from its Latin scientific name.

  4. a style of architecture exemplifying the commonest techniques, decorative features, and materials of a particular historical period, region, or group of people.

  5. any medium or mode of expression that reflects popular taste or local styles.

Origin of vernacular

First recorded in 1595–1605; from Latin vernācul(us), “household, domestic, native” (apparently adjective use of vernāculus, diminutive of verna “slave born in the master's household”; further origin uncertain) + -ar1

synonym study For vernacular

9, 10. See language.

Other words from vernacular

  • ver·nac·u·lar·ly, adverb
  • non·ver·nac·u·lar, adjective

Words Nearby vernacular Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use vernacular in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for vernacular


/ (vəˈnækjʊlə) /

  1. the vernacular the commonly spoken language or dialect of a particular people or place

  2. a local style of architecture, in which ordinary houses are built: this architect has re-created a true English vernacular

  1. relating to, using, or in the vernacular

  2. designating or relating to the common name of an animal or plant

  1. built in the local style of ordinary houses, rather than a grand architectural style

Origin of vernacular

C17: from Latin vernāculus belonging to a household slave, from verna household slave

Derived forms of vernacular

  • vernacularly, adverb

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