di·​a·​lect ˈdī-ə-ˌlekt How to pronounce dialect (audio)
often attributive
: a regional variety of language distinguished by features of vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation from other regional varieties and constituting together with them a single language
the Doric dialect of ancient Greek
a dialect of Chinese spoken in Hong Kong
: one of two or more cognate (see cognate entry 1 sense 3a) languages
French and Italian are Romance dialects
: a variety of a language used by the members of a group
such dialects as politics and advertisingPhilip Howard
: a variety of language whose identity is fixed by a factor other than geography (such as social class)
spoke a rough peasant dialect
: a version of a computer programming language
: manner or means of expressing oneself : phraseology
dialectal adjective
dialectally adverb

Examples of dialect in a Sentence

They speak a southern dialect of French. The author uses dialect in his writing. The play was hard to understand when the characters spoke in dialect.
Recent Examples on the Web English is commonly spoken in the cities most visited by tourists, and in the small towns, most residents speak Italian or the Sicilian dialect. Patricia Doherty, Travel + Leisure, 30 May 2024 The 21 titles represent artists from across Latin America and the United States that reflect the scope of the complicated and loose concept of Latinidad, in languages that include Spanish (in its many dialects), English, Portuguese and even Mixtec. Carlos Aguilar, Los Angeles Times, 29 May 2024 Online and telephone interviews were offered in English, the Chinese dialects of Mandarin and Cantonese, Vietnamese and Korean. Annie Ma and Linley Sanders, The Christian Science Monitor, 29 May 2024 In the old days of vaudeville, there was a lot of dialect comedy, but now we're not allowed to do that. Maureen Lee Lenker, EW.com, 24 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for dialect 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'dialect.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle French dialecte, from Latin dialectus, from Greek dialektos conversation, dialect, from dialegesthai to converse — more at dialogue

First Known Use

1566, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of dialect was in 1566

Dictionary Entries Near dialect

Cite this Entry

“Dialect.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dialect. Accessed 14 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition


di·​a·​lect ˈdī-ə-ˌlekt How to pronounce dialect (audio)
: a regional variety of a language differing from the standard language
: a variety of a language used by the members of a particular group or class
peasant dialect
dialectal adjective
dialectally adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on dialect

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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