Definition of colloquial
colloquialityplay \kə-ˌlō-kwē-ˈa-lə-tē\ noun
colloquiallyplay \kə-ˈlō-kwē-ə-lē\ adverb
colloquial was our Word of the Day on 08/26/2011. Hear the podcast!
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Examples of colloquial in a Sentence
But I think part of this pickle that we're in—if I may be colloquial, even though I'm not running for office—is that we've lost their sense of responsibility. —Sarah Vowell, Entertainment Weekly, 24 Oct. 2008
Langston was the merriest and the most colloquial of them all. “Best party I've ever been given!” he said. —Gwendolyn Brooks, Booklist, 15 Oct. 1993
Mr. Salisbury's firsthand account is written in a fast-paced, chaotic and colloquial style, which often feels confused and hastily set down. —Susan Shapiro, New York Times Book Review, 10 Sept. 1989
Although in the circle of his friends, where he might be unreserved with safety, he took a free share in conversation, his colloquial talents were not above mediocrity, possessing neither copiousness of ideas, nor fluency of words. —Thomas Jefferson, letter, 2 Jan. 1814
the new coworker's rudeness soon began—to use a colloquial expression—to rub me the wrong way
a colloquial essay on what makes a marriage successful
Recent Examples of colloquial from the Web
Top surgery: Colloquial way of describing gender affirming surgery on the chest.
With a major in German and a minor in art history, Betty could read and write German well, and through newspapers brought to class by a professor, was skilled at colloquial German.
And the score remains one of the best that Charles Strouse and Lee Adams ever composed, with tuneful but colloquial songs that smoothly fit amid dialogue while still expressing deeper emotions.
There had always been some writing in colloquial Egyptian, and a number of intellectuals advocated for expanding this practice.
Like most monthly full moon's colloquial names, including January's Wolf Moon or September's Corn Moon, the Snow Moon derives its name from Native American lore.
With a clear, colloquial writing style, Gorsuch has written in favor of courts’ second-guessing government regulations, in defense of religious freedom and skeptically about law enforcement.
Through Molly, a lawyer who brilliantly code-switches between corporate and colloquial vernacular, the show explores how class mobility often differs for African-American women and men.
Bear Bathtub, a colloquial name given to Yellowstone National Park's own version of a natural swimming hole, can be a busy place for wildlife to drink and cool off.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'colloquial'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
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.
COLLOQUIAL Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of colloquial for English Language Learners
: used when people are speaking in an informal way
: using an informal style
COLLOQUIAL Defined for Kids
Definition of colloquial for Students
: used in or suited to familiar and informal conversation colloquial language
Seen and Heard
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