We're working on a new site. Click here to get a sneak preview.


noun syn·tax \ˈsin-ˌtaks\

linguistics : the way in which words are put together to form phrases, clauses, or sentences

Full Definition of SYNTAX

a :  the way in which linguistic elements (as words) are put together to form constituents (as phrases or clauses)
b :  the part of grammar dealing with this
:  a connected or orderly system :  harmonious arrangement of parts or elements <the syntax of classical architecture>
:  syntactics especially as dealing with the formal properties of languages or calculi

Examples of SYNTAX

  1. I saw that she a cookie ate is an example of incorrect syntax.
  2. Everyone has good days and bad days. Her syntax is sometimes a world unto itself. But George H.W. Bush occasionally sounded as though English were more foe than friend, and he was an astute president who managed complexity with skill and balance. —Jon Meacham, Newsweek, 13 Oct. 2008

Origin of SYNTAX

Middle French or Late Latin; Middle French sintaxe, from Late Latin syntaxis, from Greek, from syntassein to arrange together, from syn- + tassein to arrange
First Known Use: 1574

Other Grammar and Linguistics Terms

ablaut, allusion, anacoluthon, diacritic, gerund, idiom, infinitive, metaphor, semiotics, simile
SYNTAX Defined for Kids


noun syn·tax \ˈsin-ˌtaks\

Definition of SYNTAX for Kids

:  the way in which words are put together to form phrases, clauses, or sentences


Next Word in the Dictionary: syntaxicPrevious Word in the Dictionary: syntanAll Words Near: syntax
How to use a word that (literally) drives some people nuts.
Test your vocab with our fun, fast game
Ailurophobia, and 9 other unusual fears