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

Other Words from dialect

dialectal \ ˌdī-​ə-​ˈlek-​tᵊl How to pronounce dialect (audio) \ adjective
dialectally \ ˌdī-​ə-​ˈlek-​tə-​lē How to pronounce dialect (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.
Recent Examples on the Web King perfected her character's voice — a squeaky, babyish tone that mirrored that of the real-life Gypsy Rose, and alluded to the childlike state in which she'd been frozen by her mother — on her own, without a dialect coach. Dianna Mazzone, Allure, 29 July 2022 No one is on the same page stylistically; scene partners barely connect with each other; there is no trace of any unifying dialect. Christian Lewis, Variety, 29 Apr. 2022 In truth, the series went to great lengths to employ experts and consultants from a variety of different fields, including cultural expert Troy Williams, Claudina Teller from the Paiute nation, Courtney Young, a dialect specialist, and many others. Lindsay Hansen Park, Los Angeles Times, 30 June 2022 Her tombstone was inscribed in Syriac, an Aramaic dialect. Jen Pinkowski, Scientific American, 15 June 2022 Singer, who has also worked on Mulan, The Survivor and Cabinet of Curiosities, was serving as the dialect coach while Carmichael (Pacific Rim: Uprising) was there visiting the set. Chris Gardner, The Hollywood Reporter, 29 June 2022 LaVoy, who directs the production with outgoing Theater J artistic director Adam Immerwahr, inhabits an array of shifting personas through some dexterous dialect work and Pamela Rodríguez-Montero’s savvy costume tweaks. Thomas Floyd, Washington Post, 21 June 2022 No number of italics or apostrophes can substitute the richness of listening to stories told in the regional dialect and original voice of the storyteller. Santi Elijah Holley, Washington Post, 23 May 2022 Another issue raised by Darany and others is which type or dialect of Arabic will be used. Niraj Warikoo, Detroit Free Press, 1 Apr. 2022 See More

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.

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

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The first known use of dialect was in 1566

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Statistics for dialect

Last Updated

8 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Dialect.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dialect. Accessed 15 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for dialect


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

More from Merriam-Webster on dialect

Nglish: Translation of dialect for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of dialect for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about dialect


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