col·​lo·​qui·​al·​ism | \ kə-ˈlō-kwē-ə-ˌli-zəm How to pronounce colloquialism (audio) \

Definition of colloquialism

1a : a colloquial expression "Chicken out" is a colloquialism for "to lose one's nerve."
b : a local or regional dialect expression "Bodacious" originated as a Southern colloquialism.
2 : colloquial style the appeal of the author's colloquialism

Examples of colloquialism in a Sentence

His English is very good, but he has trouble understanding certain colloquialisms.

Recent Examples on the Web

If nothing else, @amyklobuchar wins the first round of folksy colloquialisms that others might actually use. Dave Orrick, Twin Cities, "Amy Klobuchar had 8 minutes, 16 seconds to speak to America. Here’s how she spent them.," 26 June 2019 Osama bin Laden reportedly dropped a few American colloquialisms right before 9/11. Stephen A. Crockett Jr., The Root, "Don Trump Jr. Just Used the Word ‘Lit’ and I Feel Triggered," 27 June 2018 Buckley’s dialogue sounds like the witty combination of the vulgar and formal in Restoration comedy, but sprinkled into it — and one must assume this is deliberate — are modern colloquialisms. John Vernon, New York Times, "Finding the Funny in 17th-Century History," 1 June 2018 Another challenge of interpretation is conveying the little things, jokes, slang terms or colloquialisms, that can get lost in the conversation. Eli Meixler, Time, "Meet the 'Unsung Hero' Who Interpreted for President Trump During His 1-on-1 With Kim Jong Un," 13 June 2018 And in the case of Crikey steveirwini, a rare snail from northern Queensland, even the genus name honors Irwin, in the form of his favoured colloquialism. Kevin Thiele, Smithsonian, "Why Scientists Name Species," 28 Apr. 2018 The video shows the pair, along with Pat’s brother Robert, reminiscing on the birthday girl’s life — and even includes some hilarious Oklahoma colloquialism! Ale Russian,, "Jennifer Garner Posts Adorable Video for Mom's 80th Birthday: 'You’re as Lovable as They Come'," 16 May 2018 Kid Fury and Todrick Hall bickering about white female pop stars using all the Black gay colloquialisms that have yet to be appropriated by said white women was gold., "Why This Dear White People Lesbian Narrative Is So Important," 8 May 2018 Both Rabaiotti and Caruso were surprised to find the proud history of animal farting in colloquialism around the world. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "'Does It Fart?' Answers the Important Questions," 3 Apr. 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of colloquialism

1810, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for colloquialism

see colloquy

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about colloquialism

Statistics for colloquialism

Last Updated

9 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for colloquialism

The first known use of colloquialism was in 1810

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for colloquialism



English Language Learners Definition of colloquialism

: a word or phrase that is used mostly in informal speech : a colloquial expression


col·​lo·​qui·​al·​ism | \ kə-ˈlō-kwē-ə-ˌli-zəm How to pronounce colloquialism (audio) \

Kids Definition of colloquialism

: a word or expression used in or suited to familiar and informal conversation

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on colloquialism

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with colloquialism

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for colloquialism

Spanish Central: Translation of colloquialism

Nglish: Translation of colloquialism for Spanish Speakers

Comments on colloquialism

What made you want to look up colloquialism? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


food or victuals

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!