colloquial

adjective
col·​lo·​qui·​al | \ kə-ˈlō-kwē-əl How to pronounce colloquial (audio) \

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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from colloquial

colloquial noun
colloquiality \ kə-​ˌlō-​kwē-​ˈa-​lə-​tē How to pronounce colloquiality (audio) \ noun
colloquially \ kə-​ˈlō-​kwē-​ə-​lē How to pronounce colloquially (audio) \ 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
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

But even more so, its vibrant color—Gen Z yellow, which is quickly entering the zeitgeist with the same force that millennial pink did a few years ago—is tied to a younger generation per its colloquial name. Rachel Hahn, Vogue, "Lil Uzi Vert’s Color of Choice Puts Gen Z Yellow to Shame," 29 Jan. 2019 There were plenty of other reasons to make movies which might be more clear now that now that the medium is so accessible and colloquial, but certainly back then, no one thought of filmmaking in that way. Bridget Read, Vogue, "Miranda July Talks #MeToo, Tech, and Joanie4Jackie," 16 Oct. 2018 Baldwin’s prose ranges from richly colloquial to soaringly, sometimes wrathfully lyrical. Joe Morgenstern, WSJ, "‘If Beale Street Could Talk’ Review: Love Hoping for Justice," 13 Dec. 2018 There is a colloquial terseness to the game’s writing that’s used to great comedic effect in a way that’s reminiscent of shows like Adventure Time or the Regular Show. Michael Moore, The Verge, "The Haunted Island: a Frog Detective Game is a farcical tale of ghosts, vacations to Indonesia, and overzealous dental care," 23 Dec. 2018 So even the bug of the name is a colloquial feature. Danny Westneat, The Seattle Times, "Whose stadium is it? They tell us it’s ours, only not when it comes to selling the big money name," 12 Dec. 2018 Eve’s hunch is validated when the victim’s girlfriend, through a haze of drugs and trauma, describes the assassin, in colloquial Polish, as flat chested. David Kamp, WSJ, "Phoebe Waller-Bridge is a Powerhouse on the Rise," 5 Nov. 2018 To improve your conversational skills, Busuu has native speakers provide comments on grammatical exercises to help with both corrections and by providing you with cultural context, colloquial terms, and more. Sara Tardiff, Teen Vogue, "Solo Travel Tips for Women and Nonbinary People," 17 Sep. 2018 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

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.

See More

First Known Use of colloquial

1751, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for colloquial

see colloquy

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about colloquial

Listen to Our Podcast about colloquial

Statistics for colloquial

Last Updated

27 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for colloquial

The first known use of colloquial was in 1751

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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 How to pronounce colloquial (audio) \

Kids Definition of colloquial

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on colloquial

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

WORD OF THE DAY

incapable of being surmounted or overcome

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Finance Words Quiz

  • a-piggy-bank
  • The etymology of mortgage is related most closely to which two words?
True or False

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

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

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

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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