Definition of language
1a : the words, their pronunciation, and the methods of combining them used and understood by a community studied the French languageb (1) : audible, articulate, meaningful sound as produced by the action of the vocal organs (2) : a systematic means of communicating ideas or feelings by the use of conventionalized signs, sounds, gestures, or marks having understood meanings the language of mathematics (3) : the suggestion by objects, actions, or conditions of associated ideas or feelings language in their very gesture — William Shakespeare (4) : the means by which animals communicate the language of birds (5) : a formal system of signs and symbols (such as FORTRAN or a calculus in logic) including rules for the formation and transformation of admissible expressions (6) : machine language 1
2a : form or manner of verbal expression; specifically : style the beauty of Shakespeare's languageb : the vocabulary and phraseology belonging to an art or a department of knowledge the language of diplomacy medical languagec : profanity shouldn't of blamed the fellers if they'd cut loose with some language — Ring Lardner
3 : the study of language especially as a school subject earned a grade of B in language
4 : specific words especially in a law or regulation The police were diligent in enforcing the language of the law.
Examples of language in a Sentence
How many languages do you speak?
French is her first language.
The book has been translated into several languages.
He's learning English as a second language.
a new word that has recently entered the language
the formal language of the report
the beauty of Shakespeare's language
She expressed her ideas using simple and clear language.
He is always careful in his use of language.
Recent Examples of language from the Web
Jennifer Lopez stars as Selena, the Spanish-to-English-language pop star who was shot dead by her fan club manager at 23.
A bookmobile with Spanish-language literature also will be present.
How do Democrats get better aligned on language — and is that commensurate to being aligned on policy?
There is no such language in Thatcher’s Brighton-conference speech.
The roundtable sessions (July 12 and 26 and Aug. 2 and 16) will cover Critiquing, Linebreaks, Published Poet Exploration and Figurative Language and Sound.
MPAA rating: PG-13, for sci-fi action violence, some language and brief suggestive comments.
The Swift programming language is partially ported to Haiku now, thanks to a Summer of Code effort.
And very different from Chairman Mao’s language or party propaganda.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'language'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
LANGUAGE Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of language for English Language Learners
: the system of words or signs that people use to express thoughts and feelings to each other
: any one of the systems of human language that are used and understood by a particular group of people
: words of a particular kind
LANGUAGE Defined for Kids
Definition of language for Students
1 : the words and expressions used and understood by a large group of people the English language
2 : spoken or written words of a particular kind She used simple and clear language.
3 : a means of expressing ideas or feelings sign language
4 : a formal system of signs and symbols that is used to carry information a computer language
5 : the special words used by a certain group or in a certain field the language of science
6 : the study of languages
Learn More about language
Seen and Heard
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