Definition of dialect
1 a : 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> b : one of two or more cognate languages <French and Italian are Romance dialects> c : a variety of a language used by the members of a group <such dialects as politics and advertising — Philip Howard> d : a variety of language whose identity is fixed by a factor other than geography (as social class) <spoke a rough peasant dialect> e : register 4c f : a version of a computer programming language
2 : manner or means of expressing oneself : phraseology
dialectalplay \ˌdī-ə-ˈlek-təl\ adjective
dialectallyplay \-tə-lē\ 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.
Dialectic: Logic through Conversation
Dialectic is a term used in philosophy, and the fact that it is closely connected to the ideas of Socrates and Plato is completely logical—even from an etymological point of view. Plato’s famous dialogues frequently presented Socrates playing a leading role, and dialogue comes from the Greek roots dia- (“through” or “across”) and -logue (“discourse” or “talk”). Dialect and dialectic come from dialecktos (“conversation” or “dialect”) and ultimately back to the Greek word dialegesthai, meaning “to converse.”
Conversation or dialogue was indeed at the heart of the “Socratic method,” through which Socrates would ask probing questions which cumulatively revealed his students’ unsupported assumptions and misconceptions. The goal, according to the definition in our Unabridged Dictionary, was to “elicit a clear and consistent expression of something supposed to be implicitly known by all rational beings.”
Other philosophers had specific uses of the term dialectic, including Aristotelianism, Stoicism, Kantianism, Hegelianism, and Marxism. Asking a series of questions was considered by Socrates a method of “giving birth” to the truth, and a related word, maieutic, defined as “relating to or resembling the Socratic method of eliciting new ideas from another,” comes from the Greek word meaning “of midwifery.”
Origin and Etymology of dialect
Middle French dialecte, from Latin dialectus, from Greek dialektos conversation, dialect, from dialegesthai to converse — more at dialogue
First Known Use: 1577
DIALECT Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of dialect for English Language Learners
: a form of a language that is spoken in a particular area and that uses some of its own words, grammar, and pronunciations
DIALECT Defined for Kids
Definition of dialect for Students
: a form of a language that is spoken in a certain region or by a certain group
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up dialect? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).