language

noun
lan·​guage | \ ˈlaŋ-gwij, -wij\

Definition of language

1a : the words, their pronunciation, and the methods of combining them used and understood by a community studied the French language
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 the language of mathematics
(3) : the suggestion by objects, actions, or conditions of associated ideas or feelings language in their very gesture— William Shakespeare
(4) : the means by which animals communicate the language of birds
(5) : a formal system of signs and symbols (such as FORTRAN or a calculus in logic) including rules for the formation and transformation of admissible expressions
2a : form or manner of verbal expression specifically : style the beauty of Shakespeare's language
b : the vocabulary and phraseology belonging to an art or a department of knowledge the language of diplomacy medical language
c : profanity shouldn't of blamed the fellers if they'd cut loose with some language— Ring Lardner
3 : the study of language especially as a school subject earned a grade of B in language
4 : specific words especially in a law or regulation The police were diligent in enforcing the language of the law.

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Examples of language in a Sentence

How many languages do you speak? French is her first language. The book has been translated into several languages. He's learning English as a second language. a new word that has recently entered the language the formal language of the report the beauty of Shakespeare's language She expressed her ideas using simple and clear language. He is always careful in his use of language.
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Recent Examples on the Web

The language of intersectionality is popular among liberals and on the left, used to denote the speaker’s attention to the subtleties of structural oppression. Zack Beauchamp, Vox, "The 9 thinkers who made sense of 2018’s chaos," 27 Dec. 2018 The language in every story is mood-setting and evocative from the start. Jessie Militare, Marie Claire, "The Future of Women-Friendly Erotica Is Audio Porn, According to This App," 26 Dec. 2018 There’s no question that the language of athleisure is universal. Whitney Wei, Vogue, "Meet the Indian Design Duo Shaking Up the Look of Athleisure," 28 Nov. 2018 Almost immediately, the visual language is more complex and cinematic than other screen stories. Nathan Mattise, Ars Technica, "Searching: You’ve never seen Windows XP and load screens like this," 25 Aug. 2018 Without question, the language reported in the conference call is unacceptable and has no place in our community. Tim Sullivan, The Courier-Journal, "Cardinal Stadium is Papa John's to name, but pressure mounts to change it," 12 July 2018 But for health-policy experts, the vanishing language is nothing compared to the Trump administration chipping away at the law itself. Colby Itkowitz, Washington Post, "The Health 202: 'ACA' removed from swaths of Medicaid.gov website, watchdog reports," 12 July 2018 The language is crude and the grammar is often even worse. Jenice Armstrong, Philly.com, "Instagram's No Gun Zone is out to make Philly's mean streets safer | Jenice Armstrong," 11 July 2018 But the assimilation process has been made harder by increasingly aggressive propaganda campaigns in the Russian-language news media, narratives widely believed to be directed from Moscow with the intent of heightening divisions. Marc Santora, New York Times, "Trump Derides NATO as ‘Obsolete.’ Baltic Nations See It Much Differently.," 10 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'language.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of language

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for language

Middle English, from Anglo-French langage, from lange, langue tongue, language, from Latin lingua — more at tongue

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Statistics for language

Last Updated

13 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for language

The first known use of language was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for language

language

noun

English Language Learners Definition of language

: 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

language

noun
lan·​guage | \ ˈlaŋ-gwij \

Kids Definition of language

1 : the words and expressions used and understood by a large group of people the English language
2 : spoken or written words of a particular kind She used simple and clear language.
3 : a means of expressing ideas or feelings sign language
4 : a formal system of signs and symbols that is used to carry information a computer language
5 : the special words used by a certain group or in a certain field the language of science
6 : the study of languages

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Comments on language

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