Definition of colloquial
- In colloquial English, "kind of" is often used for "somewhat" or "rather."
- a colloquial writer
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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
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.
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.
: used when people are speaking in an informal way
: using an informal style
What made you want to look up colloquial? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).
to speak or write verbosely and windily
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