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noun syn·tax \ˈsin-ˌtaks\

Simple Definition of syntax

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

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of syntax

  1. 1a :  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

  2. 2 :  a connected or orderly system :  harmonious arrangement of parts or elements <the syntax of classical architecture>

  3. 3 :  syntactics especially as dealing with the formal properties of languages or calculi

Examples of syntax in a sentence

  1. 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

  2. Coming from a great distance and wholly unrelated to the Teutonic, Latin and Slav languages that fence it in, Hungarian has remained miraculously intact. Everything about the language is different, not only the words themselves, but the way they are formed, the syntax and grammar and above all the cast of mind that brought them into being. —Patrick Leigh Fermor, Between the Woods and the Water, 1986

  3. I saw that she a cookie ate is an example of incorrect syntax.

Origin and Etymology 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

Rhymes with syntax

addax, anthrax, banjax, beeswax, borax, broadax, climax, coax, Colfax, death tax, earwax, flat tax, galax, hyrax, Lomax, lost wax, meat-ax, panchax, pickax, poleax, poll tax, relax, sales tax, sin tax, smilax, stamp tax, storax, styrax, surtax, thorax, toadflax

SYNTAX Defined for Kids


noun syn·tax \ˈsin-ˌtaks\

Definition of syntax for Students

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

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