A pidgin is a simplified language that is usually formed from elements of two different languages — allowing basic communication between groups of people who don't share a common tongue.

If you're visiting Mexico but you don't speak Spanish, you may use a kind of pidgin to talk to locals — a combination of Spanish and English. Or the locals may speak a pidgin version of English to communicate with you. Most pidgins include various elements of different languages in addition to the primary source of vocabulary — but they're all made up. The word pidgin is thought to derive from a Chinese pronunciation of the word business as "bigeon" and eventually "pidgin."

Definitions of pidgin

n an artificial language used for trade between speakers of different languages

Chinook Jargon, Oregon Jargon
a pidgin incorporating Chinook and French and English words; formerly used as a lingua franca in northwestern North America
Type of:
artificial language
a language that is deliberately created for a specific purpose

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