dialect

noun, often attributive
di·​a·​lect | \ ˈdī-ə-ˌlekt How to pronounce dialect (audio) \

Definition of dialect

1 linguistics
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 a dialect of Chinese spoken in Hong Kong
b : one of two or more cognate (see cognate entry 1 sense 3a) 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 (such as social class) spoke a rough peasant dialect
f : a version of a computer programming language
2 : manner or means of expressing oneself : phraseology

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Other Words from dialect

dialectal \ ˌdī-​ə-​ˈlek-​tᵊl How to pronounce dialectal (audio) \ adjective
dialectally \ ˌdī-​ə-​ˈlek-​tə-​lē How to pronounce dialectally (audio) \ 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.
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Recent Examples on the Web The captive parrots, however, developed an entirely new dialect, a phenomenon that has not been observed before in other captive bird populations, Erica Tennenhouse writes for Nat Geo. Skyler Kardell, National Geographic, "Freed from the circus, where will these elephants live?," 24 Sep. 2020 Its origins trace back to a dialect of Hindi that traveled with more than half a million Indians from British Colonial India taken to the Caribbean between 1838 to 1917 to quell a labor shortage at the end of chattel slavery. Nadine Drummond, SELF, "What Kamala Harris’s Historic Win Means to Me as an Indo African Caribbean Woman," 7 Nov. 2020 Far from relegation to the fringes of contemporary music, minimalism is now the musical dialect of consumer culture. Washington Post, "The late composer Jon Gibson helped save minimalism from itself," 15 Oct. 2020 Geechie is a dialect spoken mainly by the descendants of African-American slaves who settled on the Ogeechee river in Georgia, according to Merriam-Webster.com. Alexandra Olson, chicagotribune.com, "Mars drops Uncle Ben’s, reveals new name for rice brand," 24 Sep. 2020 Geechie is a dialect spoken mainly by the descendants of African-American slaves who settled on the Ogeechee river in Georgia, according to Merriam-Webster.com. Alexandra Olson, chicagotribune.com, "Mars drops Uncle Ben’s, reveals new name for rice brand," 24 Sep. 2020 Researchers from China found that people estimate cities that share a dialect to be closer than cities that do not. Jessica Wapner, Popular Science, "How border walls trick the human brain and psyche," 2 Oct. 2020 Geechie is a dialect spoken mainly by the descendants of African-American slaves who settled on the Ogeechee river in Georgia, according to Merriam-Webster.com. Alexandra Olson, chicagotribune.com, "Mars drops Uncle Ben’s, reveals new name for rice brand," 24 Sep. 2020 Geechie is a dialect spoken mainly by the descendants of African-American slaves who settled on the Ogeechee river in Georgia, according to Merriam-Webster.com. Alexandra Olson, chicagotribune.com, "Mars drops Uncle Ben’s, reveals new name for rice brand," 24 Sep. 2020

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

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First Known Use of dialect

1566, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for dialect

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

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Time Traveler for dialect

Time Traveler

The first known use of dialect was in 1566

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Statistics for dialect

Last Updated

23 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Dialect.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dialect. Accessed 26 Nov. 2020.

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More Definitions for dialect

dialect

noun
How to pronounce dialect (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of dialect

: a form of a language that is spoken in a particular area and that uses some of its own words, grammar, and pronunciations

dialect

noun
di·​a·​lect | \ ˈdī-ə-ˌlekt How to pronounce dialect (audio) \

Kids Definition of dialect

: a form of a language that is spoken in a certain region or by a certain group

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Comments on dialect

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