colloquial

adjective
col·lo·qui·al | \kə-ˈlō-kwē-əl \

Definition of colloquial 

1a : used in or characteristic of familiar and informal conversation In colloquial English, "kind of" is often used for "somewhat" or "rather." also : unacceptably informal

b : using conversational style a colloquial writer

2 : of or relating to conversation : conversational colloquial expressions

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Other Words from colloquial

colloquial noun
colloquiality \kə-ˌlō-kwē-ˈa-lə-tē \ noun
colloquially \kə-ˈlō-kwē-ə-lē \ adverb

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.

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
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Recent Examples on the Web

Tamblyn has a natural ear for colloquial writing, and the strongest parts of the novel belong to Pear and Jamar, two of Maude’s victims who speak in a direct, confessional style. Steph Cha, USA TODAY, "Amber Tamblyn takes on rape culture (with a daring twist) in debut novel, 'Any Man'," 26 June 2018 The artist has built a fantastical immersive environment inside the museum’s Grand Avenue location inspired by aspects of Afrofuturism and colloquial signifiers of black identity — a wry re-imagining of the white cube. Carolina A. Miranda, latimes.com, "Datebook: Shots of old Route 66, dreamlike paintings and garments fashioned from paper," 12 July 2018 With a scant appeals record, most of the attention is focused on Thapar's trial court service, where he is remembered for sprinkling pop culture and colloquial references in his work. Bill Mears, Fox News, "Trump's Supreme Court candidates: Meet the potential nominees," 6 July 2018 Housman is a master of poetic form, whose language is just elevated enough to sound classical, while remaining direct and colloquial. Adam Kirsch, WSJ, "Poetry for the Pleasure of It," 13 Apr. 2018 With his marker and whiteboard in hand, Guy breaks down complex verbs, colloquial expressions and witty slang while teaching the history of this bustling and dynamic neighborhood. Joe Yudin, Town & Country, "How to Plan a Trip to Israel," 5 Oct. 2016 Gulls — there is no single bird called a seagull, which is a colloquial term applied to several types of coastal gulls — were once primarily migratory winter visitors to the state. Billy Baker, BostonGlobe.com, "The gull next door: Some Gloucester residents can’t stand all the seabirds," 19 June 2018 Divorce remained exceedingly rare until the first liberalizing laws of the nineteenth century; breaking up in the more colloquial sense is not even a century old. Jess Bergman, The New Republic, "The Birth of Breakups," 18 June 2018 Collages of women greet the viewer with piercing eyes; with their hair manipulated beyond the colloquial definition of natural, the women’s faces take center stage. Hannah Giorgis, The Atlantic, "Lorna Simpson Maps the Complex Galaxies of Black Women’s Hair," 10 June 2018

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.

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First Known Use of colloquial

1751, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for colloquial

see colloquy

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Statistics for colloquial

Last Updated

14 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for colloquial

The first known use of colloquial was in 1751

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More Definitions for colloquial

colloquial

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of colloquial

: used when people are speaking in an informal way

: using an informal style

colloquial

adjective
col·lo·qui·al | \kə-ˈlō-kwē-əl \

Kids Definition of colloquial

: used in or suited to familiar and informal conversation colloquial language

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Comments on colloquial

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