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 Members are sometimes referred to by a pejorative colloquialism derived from the name of the group's founder — the Rev. Sun Myung Moon. Grayson Quay, The Week, 10 July 2022 The album, recorded in Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, is riddled with references and colloquialism from the neighboring islands. Marjua Estevez,, 11 May 2022 In 2021, Central Catholic was built different, as the colloquialism goes. oregonlive, 4 Dec. 2021 The characters’ behavior and language have a colloquialism to them that is supplemented by popular Spanish music, celebrations and, importantly, a sense of melodrama that has always been a distinctive part of local storytelling. Jamie Lang, Variety, 7 Oct. 2021 Titled At Your Big Age (a nod to the popular Black colloquialism describing someone who should be too grown for nonsense), the developing series will follow a group of Black Brits trying to survive their twenties. Ineye Komonibo,, 24 July 2021 This colloquialism equally applies to Black businesses struggling to survive the covid-19 recession — after already being at a disadvantage because of decades of discrimination in lending and other business practices. Michelle Singletary, Washington Post, 20 Nov. 2020 In the conversation secretly recorded by Daly during lunch with Lamey at Rick's Boatyard Cafe in Indianapolis, Lamey does not mention the woodpile slur Daly characterizes as an Irish colloquialism. Jim Ayello, The Indianapolis Star, 26 June 2020 Only then does the human take over, cleaning up language and capturing more subtle nuances, for instance translating colloquialisms and metaphors that machines still struggle to translate as well as humans. Jeremy Kahn, Fortune, 12 Dec. 2019 See More

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.

First Known Use of colloquialism

1810, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for colloquialism

see colloquy

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Time Traveler for colloquialism

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The first known use of colloquialism was in 1810

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Last Updated

23 Jul 2022

Cite this Entry

“Colloquialism.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for colloquialism


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

More from Merriam-Webster on colloquialism

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for colloquialism

Nglish: Translation of colloquialism for Spanish Speakers


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