Simple Definition of lingua franca
: a language that is used among people who speak various different languages
Full Definition of lingua francaplural
linguae francaeplay \-gwē-ˈfraŋ-(ˌ)kē\
1 often capitalized : a common language consisting of Italian mixed with French, Spanish, Greek, and Arabic that was formerly spoken in Mediterranean ports
2 : any of various languages used as common or commercial tongues among peoples of diverse speech
3 : something resembling a common language <movies are the lingua franca of the twentieth century — Gore Vidal>
Examples of lingua franca in a sentence
English is used as a lingua franca among many airline pilots.
Did You Know?
In the Middle Ages, the Arabs of the eastern Mediterranean referred to all Europeans as Franks (the name of the tribe that once occupied the land we call France). Since there was plenty of Arab-European trade, the traders in the Mediterranean ports eventually developed a trading language combining Italian, Arabic, and other languages, which almost everyone could more or less understand, and it became known as the "Frankish language", or lingua franca. Some languages actually succeed in becoming lingua francas without changing much. So, when the Roman empire became vast and mighty, Latin became the important lingua franca; and at a meeting between Japanese and Vietnamese businesspeople today, English may well be the only language spoken.
Origin and Etymology of lingua franca
Italian, literally, Frankish language
First Known Use: 1619
Learn More about lingua franca
Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about lingua franca
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up lingua franca? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).