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

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.”

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

Papke’s also worked as a dialect coach and actor for Twin Cities theaters, including the Guthrie, Mixed Blood, Penumbra and Walking Shadow. Kathy Berdan, Twin Cities, "To be … outside. Classical Actors Ensemble brings Shakespeare to the parks," 20 June 2019 More than 10 percent of Wikipedia is written in English, for example, and almost half the site’s articles are in European dialects. Louise Matsakis, WIRED, "Bridging the Internet's Digital Language Divide," 13 June 2019 Our food, music, and dialects can be found replicated here in a lot of different ways. Mosha Lundström Halbert, Vogue, "The Cool Girl’s Guide to Toronto," 27 Dec. 2018 The voice data isn't very representative of regional dialects – making Alexa a bit hit-or-miss with Pittsburgh words like chipped ham (a type of ham lunch meat) and gumbands (rubber bands). Courtney Linder, The Christian Science Monitor, "Voice assistants can't understand Pittsburghese," 19 Apr. 2018 The account even pokes fun at the dialect of Californians and has garnered more than 14,000 followers. Maureen Bohannon, azcentral, "Phoenix economic group looks to lure Californians to Arizona with #CAStruggles campaign," 13 June 2019 Marchers pushed strollers and carried canes, chanting slogans in the native Cantonese dialect in favor of greater transparency in government. Christopher Bodeen, chicagotribune.com, "Massive extradition bill protest fills Hong Kong streets," 9 June 2019 Among attendees, Scott said, some judges considered the dialect to be more like slang or lingo. Cassie Owens, https://www.inquirer.com, "Philly judges discuss language access following study of court reporters," 5 June 2019 Luther’s vernacular writings, above all his translation of the Bible, have a fair claim to have forged a single German language out of a multitude of local dialects. Eamon Duffy, The New York Review of Books, "The World Split in Two," 18 Apr. 2019

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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Statistics for dialect

Last Updated

13 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for dialect

The first known use of dialect was in 1566

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More Definitions for dialect

dialect

noun

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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