language

noun
lan·​guage | \ ˈlaŋ-gwij How to pronounce language (audio) , -wij \

Definition of language

1a : the words, their pronunciation, and the methods of combining them used and understood by a community studied the French language
b(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
2a : form or manner of verbal expression specifically : style the beauty of Shakespeare's language
b : the vocabulary and phraseology belonging to an art or a department of knowledge the language of diplomacy medical language
c : 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.

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web But Choctaw language and culture thrives despite colonization, on a small reservation outside Memphis. Sarah Macaraeg, USA TODAY, "On 88 acres of self-governed land in Tennessee, a dream deferred for Choctaw people comes true," 26 Nov. 2020 His talents are in language and communication — and thanks to the unexpected and random nature of Saturnyne's contest, those talents have actually helped score a point or two for the X-Men. Christian Holub, EW.com, "Ranking the X-Men's swords in X of Swords," 25 Nov. 2020 Others argued that framing language in the curriculum and appendix would ensure any such lesson would be situated within the appropriate academic context, and a majority of commissioners ultimately voted in favor. Nina Agrawal, Los Angeles Times, "California is still debating ethnic studies in public education. Can the state finally get it right?," 23 Nov. 2020 The two nations share a similar language and a porous border, but their close ties do not guarantee safe employment. Margie Mason And Robin Mcdowell, chicagotribune.com, "Palm oil is a big business and virtually impossible to avoid. The workers who cultivate it are abused.," 21 Nov. 2020 The tax-cut proposition benefited from very simple ballot language and support from our Democratic governor. Andrew Stuttaford, National Review, "The Capital Letter: Week of November 16," 21 Nov. 2020 Guam’s complex story is reflected in the Chamoru language, which features Spanish, English, and Japanese words. Melissa Findley, National Geographic, "Destinations on the rise for 2021," 20 Nov. 2020 For Fields, alone in Italy and her first time out of the country, food became a way to overcome difference in language and culture. Priscilla Totiyapungprasert, The Arizona Republic, "She's cooked for celebs and NFL players. Now this chef is opening a restaurant in Phoenix," 17 Nov. 2020 The review board investigates civilian complaints that allege that officers used excessive force, abused their authority or used offensive language and gestures. Ali Watkins, New York Times, "A Watchdog Accused Officers of Serious Misconduct. Few Were Punished.," 15 Nov. 2020

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.

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First Known Use of language

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for language

Middle English, from Anglo-French langage, from lange, langue tongue, language, from Latin lingua — more at tongue

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Time Traveler for language

Time Traveler

The first known use of language was in the 14th century

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Statistics for language

Last Updated

30 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Language.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/language. Accessed 5 Dec. 2020.

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More Definitions for language

language

noun
How to pronounce language (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of language

: 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

noun
lan·​guage | \ ˈlaŋ-gwij How to pronounce language (audio) \

Kids Definition of language

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

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