• colloquial
  • audio pronunciation
  • \kuh-LOH-kwee-ul\
  • DEFINITION

adjective

1
: of or relating to conversation : conversational
2
a : used in or characteristic of familiar and informal conversation; also : unacceptably informal b : using conversational style
  • EXAMPLES

Molly can switch from formal academic language to a charmingly colloquial style, depending on the audience and subject of her writing.

"Founded in 1829 on the initiative of then Home Secretary Sir Robert Peel (hence the colloquial term 'bobby' for a policeman), the Metropolitan Police originally comprised 895 constables for a population of more than two million." -- From an article by Tim Lister on CNN.com, July 18, 2011

  • DID YOU KNOW?

The noun "colloquy" was first used in English to refer to a conversation or dialogue, and when the adjective "colloquial" was formed from "colloquy" it had a similar focus. Over time, however, "colloquial" developed a more specific meaning related to language that is most suited to informal conversation -- and it ultimately garnered an additional, disparaging implication of a style that seems too informal for a situation. "Colloquy" and "colloquial" trace back to the Latin verb "colloqui," meaning "to converse." "Colloqui" in turn was formed by combining the prefix "com-" and "loqui," "to speak." Other conversational descendants of "loqui" in English include "circumlocution," "eloquent," "loquacious," "soliloquy," and "ventriloquism."

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