noun lan·guage \ˈlaŋ-gwij, -wij\

: the system of words or signs that people use to express thoughts and feelings to each other

: any one of the systems of human language that are used and understood by a particular group of people

: words of a particular kind

Full Definition of LANGUAGE

a :  the words, their pronunciation, and the methods of combining them used and understood by a community
b (1) :  audible, articulate, meaningful sound as produced by the action of the vocal organs
(2) :  a systematic means of communicating ideas or feelings by the use of conventionalized signs, sounds, gestures, or marks having understood meanings (3) :  the suggestion by objects, actions, or conditions of associated ideas or feelings <language in their very gesture — Shakespeare> (4) :  the means by which animals communicate (5) :  a formal system of signs and symbols (as FORTRAN or a calculus in logic) including rules for the formation and transformation of admissible expressions (6) :  machine language 1
a :  form or manner of verbal expression; specifically :  style
b :  the vocabulary and phraseology belonging to an art or a department of knowledge
c :  profanity
:  the study of language especially as a school subject
:  specific words especially in a law or regulation
language table

Examples of LANGUAGE

  1. How many languages do you speak?
  2. French is her first language.
  3. The book has been translated into several languages.
  4. He's learning English as a second language.
  5. a new word that has recently entered the language
  6. the formal language of the report
  7. the beauty of Shakespeare's language
  8. She expressed her ideas using simple and clear language.
  9. He is always careful in his use of language.

Origin of LANGUAGE

Middle English, from Anglo-French langage, from lange, langue tongue, language, from Latin lingua — more at tongue
First Known Use: 14th century

Other Grammar and Linguistics Terms

ablaut, allusion, anacoluthon, diacritic, gerund, idiom, infinitive, metaphor, semiotics, simile

Rhymes with LANGUAGE

LANGUAGE Defined for Kids


noun lan·guage \ˈlaŋ-gwij\

Definition of LANGUAGE for Kids

:  the words and expressions used and understood by a large group of people <the English language>
:  spoken or written words of a particular kind <She used simple and clear language.>
:  a means of expressing ideas or feelings <sign language>
:  a formal system of signs and symbols that is used to carry information <a computer language>
:  the special words used by a certain group or in a certain field <the language of science>
:  the study of languages
How to use a word that (literally) drives some people nuts.
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