language

A language is a system of words and grammar used by a group of people. When we write and speak, we're using language.

Animals have amazing forms of communication, but the unique thing about people is our ability to use language. There are hundreds of languages in the world, and you might be learning a second language in school. A dictionary is an important tool in learning a language, but the grammar — how a language is put together — is a lot more complicated. Sign languages are languages too. You can also say that music and math have their own language.

Definitions of language
  1. noun
    a systematic means of communicating by the use of sounds or conventional symbols
    “he taught foreign languages
    “the language introduced is standard throughout the text”
    “the speed with which a program can be executed depends on the language in which it is written”
    synonyms: linguistic communication
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    usage
    the customary manner in which a language (or a form of a language) is spoken or written
    dead language
    a language that is no longer learned as a native language
    words
    language that is spoken or written
    source language
    a language that is to be translated into another language
    object language, target language
    the language into which a text written in another language is to be translated
    sign language, signing
    language expressed by visible hand gestures
    artificial language
    a language that is deliberately created for a specific purpose
    metalanguage
    a language that can be used to describe languages
    native language
    the language that a person has spoken from earliest childhood
    indigenous language
    a language that originated in a specified place and was not brought to that place from elsewhere
    superstrate, superstratum
    the language of a later invading people that is imposed on an indigenous population and contributes features to their language
    natural language, tongue
    a human written or spoken language used by a community; opposed to e.g. a computer language
    interlanguage, koine, lingua franca
    a common language used by speakers of different languages
    linguistic string, string of words, word string
    a linear sequence of words as spoken or written
    barrage, bombardment, onslaught, outpouring
    the rapid and continuous delivery of linguistic communication (spoken or written)
    slanguage
    language characterized by excessive use of slang or cant
    sentence
    a string of words satisfying the grammatical rules of a language
    syntagm, syntagma
    a syntactic string of words that forms a part of some larger syntactic unit
    finger spelling, fingerspelling
    an alphabet of manual signs
    ASL, American sign language
    the sign language used in the United States
    Antido
    an artificial language related to Ido
    Arulo
    an artificial language intended for international use as an auxiliary language
    Basic English
    a simplified form of English proposed for use as an auxiliary language for international communication; devised by C. K. Ogden and I. A. Richards
    Blaia Zimondal
    an artificial language
    Esperantido
    an artificial language based on Esperanto and Ido
    Esperanto
    an artificial language based as far as possible on words common to all the European languages
    Europan
    an artificial language proposed as an auxiliary European language
    Idiom Neutral
    an artificial language proposed for use as an auxiliary international language; based on Volapuk but with a vocabulary selected on the basis of the maximum internationality of the roots
    Interlingua
    an artificial language proposed for use as an auxiliary international language; based on words common to English and the Romance languages
    Ido
    an artificial language that is a revision and simplification of Esperanto
    Latinesce
    an artificial language based on Latin
    Latino
    an artificial language based on words common to the Romance languages
    Lingualumina
    an artificial language
    Lingvo Kosmopolita
    an artificial language
    Monario
    an artificial language
    Nov-Esperanto
    an artificial language based on Esperanto
    Novial
    an artificial language
    Nov-Latin
    an artificial language based on Latin
    Occidental
    an artificial language
    Optez
    an artificial language
    Pasigraphy
    an artificial international language using characters (as mathematical symbols) instead of words to express ideas
    Ro
    an artificial language for international use that rejects all existing words and is based instead on an abstract analysis of ideas
    Romanal
    an artificial language
    Solresol
    an artificial language
    Volapuk
    one of the first artificial language constructed for use as an auxiliary international language; based largely on English but with some German and French and Latin roots
    programing language, programming language
    (computer science) a language designed for programming computers
    application-oriented language, problem-oriented language
    a language whose statements resemble terminology of the user
    command language, query language, search language
    a source language consisting of procedural operators that invoke functions to be executed
    syntax language
    a language used to describe the syntax of another language
    substrate, substratum
    an indigenous language that contributes features to the language of an invading people who impose their language on the indigenous population
    first language, maternal language, mother tongue
    one's native language; the language learned by children and passed from one generation to the next
    tonal language, tone language
    a language in which different tones distinguish different meanings
    creole
    a mother tongue that originates from contact between two languages
    pidgin
    an artificial language used for trade between speakers of different languages
    American Indian, American-Indian language, Amerind, Amerindian language, Indian
    any of the languages spoken by Amerindians
    Eskimo-Aleut, Eskimo-Aleut language
    the family of languages that includes Eskimo and Aleut
    Chukchi, Chukchi language
    an indigenous and isolated language of unknown origin spoken by the Chukchi that is pronounced differently by men and women
    Sino-Tibetan, Sino-Tibetan language
    the family of tonal languages spoken in eastern Asia
    Austro-Asiatic, Austro-Asiatic language, Munda-Mon-Khmer
    a family of languages spoken in southern and southeastern Asia
    Hmong, Hmong language, Miao
    a language of uncertain affiliation spoken by the Hmong
    Austronesian, Austronesian language
    the family of languages spoken in Australia and Formosa and Malaysia and Polynesia
    Papuan, Papuan language
    any of the indigenous languages spoken in Papua New Guinea or New Britain or the Solomon Islands that are not Malayo-Polynesian languages
    Khoisan, Khoisan language
    a family of languages spoken in southern Africa
    Indo-European, Indo-European language, Indo-Hittite
    the family of languages that by 1000 BC were spoken throughout Europe and in parts of southwestern and southern Asia
    Ural-Altaic
    a (postulated) group of languages including many of the indigenous languages of Russia (but not Russian)
    Basque
    the language of the Basque people; of no known relation to any other language
    Elamite, Elamitic, Susian
    an extinct ancient language of unknown affinities; spoken by the Elamites
    Cassite, Kassite
    an ancient language spoken by the Kassites
    Caucasian, Caucasian language
    a number of languages spoken in the Caucasus that are unrelated to languages spoken elsewhere
    Dravidian, Dravidian language, Dravidic
    a large family of languages spoken in south and central India and Sri Lanka
    Afrasian, Afrasian language, Afro-Asiatic, Afroasiatic, Afroasiatic language, Hamito-Semitic
    a large family of related languages spoken both in Asia and Africa
    Niger-Kordofanian, Niger-Kordofanian language
    the family of languages that includes most of the languages spoken in Africa south of the Sahara; the majority of them are tonal languages but there are important exceptions (e.g., Swahili or Fula)
    Nilo-Saharan, Nilo-Saharan language
    a family of East African languages spoken by Nilotic peoples from the Sahara south to Kenya and Tanzania
    type of:
    communication
    something that is communicated by or to or between people or groups
  2. noun
    a system of words used to name things in a particular discipline
    “the language of sociology”
    synonyms: nomenclature, terminology
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    markup language
    a set of symbols and rules for their use when doing a markup of a document
    toponomy, toponymy
    the nomenclature of regional anatomy
    SGML, standard generalized markup language
    (computer science) a standardized language for the descriptive markup of documents; a set of rules for using whatever markup vocabulary is adopted
    HTML, hypertext mark-up language, hypertext markup language
    a set of tags and rules (conforming to SGML) for using them in developing hypertext documents
    type of:
    word
    a unit of language that native speakers can identify
  3. noun
    (language) communication by word of mouth
    “he uttered harsh language
    “he recorded the spoken language of the streets”
    synonyms: oral communication, speech, speech communication, spoken communication, spoken language, voice communication
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    examples:
    Strategic Arms Limitation Talks
    negotiations between the United States and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics opened in 1969 in Helsinki designed to limit both countries' stock of nuclear weapons
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    words
    the words that are spoken
    orthoepy, pronunciation
    the way a word or a language is customarily spoken
    conversation
    the use of speech for informal exchange of views or ideas or information etc.
    discussion, give-and-take, word
    an exchange of views on some topic
    expression, locution, saying
    a word or phrase that particular people use in particular situations
    non-standard speech
    speech that differs from the usual accepted, easily recognizable speech of native adult members of a speech community
    idiolect
    the language or speech of one individual at a particular period in life
    monologue
    a long utterance by one person (especially one that prevents others from participating in the conversation)
    charm, magic spell, magical spell, spell
    a verbal formula believed to have magical force
    dictation
    speech intended for reproduction in writing
    monologue, soliloquy
    speech you make to yourself
    Beatitude
    one of the eight sayings of Jesus at the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount; in Latin each saying begins with `beatus' (blessed)
    logion
    a saying of Jesus that is regarded as authentic although it is not recorded in the Gospels
    calque, calque formation, loan translation
    an expression introduced into one language by translating it from another language
    advice and consent
    a legal expression in the United States Constitution that allows the Senate to constrain the President's powers of appointment and treaty-making
    ambiguity
    an expression whose meaning cannot be determined from its context
    euphemism
    an inoffensive or indirect expression that is substituted for one that is considered offensive or too harsh
    dysphemism
    an offensive or disparaging expression that is substituted for an inoffensive one
    shucks
    an expression of disappointment or irritation
    Received Pronunciation
    the approved pronunciation of British English; originally based on the King's English as spoken at public schools and at Oxford and Cambridge Universities (and widely accepted elsewhere in Britain); until recently it was the pronunciation of English used in British broadcasting
    tongue twister
    an expression that is difficult to articulate clearly
    crossfire
    a lively or heated interchange of ideas and opinions
    phatic communication, phatic speech
    conversational speech used to communicate sociability more than information
    exchange
    a mutual expression of views (especially an unpleasant one)
    chat, confab, confabulation, schmoose, schmooze
    an informal conversation
    gossiping, gossipmongering
    a conversation that spreads personal information about other people
    talk, talking
    an exchange of ideas via conversation
    nothings
    inconsequential conversation
    commerce
    social exchange, especially of opinions, attitudes, etc.
    colloquy
    formal conversation
    argument, argumentation, debate
    a discussion in which reasons are advanced for and against some proposition or proposal
    rap
    voluble conversation
    rap session
    conversation in a situation where feelings can be expressed and criticized or supported
    second-hand speech
    overheard conversation (especially overheard cellphone conversation)
    table talk
    conversation during a meal
    telephone conversation
    a conversation over the telephone
    tete-a-tete
    a private conversation between two people
    deliberation
    (usually plural) discussion of all sides of a question
    conference, group discussion
    a discussion among participants who have an agreed (serious) topic
    panel discussion
    discussion of a subject of public interest by a group of persons forming a panel usually before an audience
    post-mortem, postmortem
    discussion of an event after it has occurred
    public discussion, ventilation
    free and open discussion of (or debate on) some question of public interest
    dialogue, negotiation, talks
    a discussion intended to produce an agreement
    anatomical, anatomical reference
    an expression that relates to anatomy
    southernism
    a locution or pronunciation peculiar to the southern United States
    catchword, motto, shibboleth, slogan
    a favorite saying of a sect or political group
    axiom, maxim
    a saying that is widely accepted on its own merits
    epigram, quip
    a witty saying
    adage, byword, proverb, saw
    a condensed but memorable saying embodying some important fact of experience that is taken as true by many people
    idiom, idiomatic expression, phrasal idiom, phrase, set phrase
    an expression whose meanings cannot be inferred from the meanings of the words that make it up
    agrapha
    sayings of Jesus not recorded in the canonical Gospels
    sumpsimus
    a correct expression that takes the place of a popular but incorrect expression
    baby talk, babytalk
    the developing speech of a young child
    baby talk, babytalk, motherese
    an adult's imitation of the speech of a young child
    accent, dialect, idiom
    the usage or vocabulary that is characteristic of a specific group of people
    localism
    a phrase or pronunciation that is peculiar to a particular locality
    regionalism
    a feature (as a pronunciation or expression or custom) that is characteristic of a particular region
    telegraphese
    language characterized by terseness and ellipsis as in telegrams
    vernacular
    the everyday speech of the people (as distinguished from literary language)
    argot, cant, jargon, lingo, patois, slang, vernacular
    a characteristic language of a particular group (as among thieves)
    slang, slang expression, slang term
    informal language consisting of words and expressions that are not considered appropriate for formal occasions; often vituperative or vulgar
    conjuration, incantation
    a ritual recitation of words or sounds believed to have a magical effect
    curse, hex, jinx, whammy
    an evil spell
    type of:
    auditory communication
    communication that relies on hearing
  4. noun
    the mental faculty or power of vocal communication
    language sets homo sapiens apart from all other animals”
    synonyms: speech
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    faculty, mental faculty, module
    one of the inherent cognitive or perceptual powers of the mind
  5. noun
    the cognitive processes involved in producing and understanding linguistic communication
    “he didn't have the language to express his feelings”
    synonyms: linguistic process
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    reading
    the cognitive process of understanding a written linguistic message
    speed-reading
    reading at speeds significantly faster than normal
    perusal, perusing, poring over, studying
    reading carefully with intent to remember
    browse, browsing
    reading superficially or at random
    skim, skimming
    reading or glancing through quickly
    type of:
    higher cognitive process
    cognitive processes that presuppose the availability of knowledge and put it to use
  6. noun
    the text of a popular song or musical-comedy number
    “the song uses colloquial language
    synonyms: lyric, words
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    types:
    love lyric
    the lyric of a love song
    type of:
    text, textual matter
    the words of something written
Word Family