lex·​i·​con | \ ˈlek-sə-ˌkän also -kən How to pronounce lexicon (audio) \
plural lexica\ ˈlek-​sə-​kə How to pronounce lexica (audio) \ or lexicons

Definition of lexicon

1 : a book containing an alphabetical arrangement of the words in a language and their definitions : dictionary a French lexicon
2a : the vocabulary of a language, an individual speaker or group of speakers, or a subject computer terms that have been added to the lexicon
b : the total stock of morphemes in a language
3 : repertoire, inventory added the DVD to his video lexicon

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Synonyms for lexicon


dictionary, wordbook

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Tips on Using Lexicon in a Sentence

The word lexicon has a number of closely-related meanings, which can easily lead to confusion and may cause the word to be used in an awkward way. Lexicon can refer to a general dictionary of a language (as in "a lexicon of the Hebrew language") and also to a narrower printed compilation of words within some sphere (as in "a medical lexicon" or "a lexicon of the German in Finnegans Wake").

Similarly, lexicon can refer both to the vocabulary of a specific group of people ("the lexicon of French") or to the general language used by an unspecified group of people ("a word that has not entered the general lexicon yet"). It may also often be found in reference to the vocabulary employed by a particular speaker ("'Failure' is not a word in my lexicon").

Examples of lexicon in a Sentence

a computer term that has entered the general lexicon an avid word enthusiast who is compiling a lexicon of archaic and unusual words

Recent Examples on the Web

Oklahoma at Texas Saturday, 6:15 p.m. ET, ESPN Even by the standards of the sport that added the term March Madness to the lexicon, the Big 12 season thus far has produced a whole new level of sanity-challenging results. Eddie Timanus, USA TODAY, "Big 12 showdowns top what we are watching this weekend in college basketball," 2 Feb. 2018 One of the more sentimental celebrations that have been created at the World Cup, Bebeto's tribute to his newborn baby was an iconic addition to the lexicon. SI.com, "7 of the Best Celebrations in World Cup History," 31 May 2018 In the more than a month since their former high school became a tragic part of the national lexicon, the alumni have been struggling with a mix of emotions. Dugan Arnett, BostonGlobe.com, "Local Stoneman Douglas High School alumni rally along with students on Boston Common," 24 Mar. 2018 Some have glimpsed traces of his lexicon in Wes Anderson’s films. Marley Marius, Vogue, "Why There’s Never Been a Better Time to Celebrate Yasujirō Ozu," 12 Dec. 2018 Copywriters are infusing holidays into our lexicon with no one to stop them! Ashley Carman, The Verge, "People participate in hashtag holidays if they feel a personal connection," 26 Dec. 2018 With the new get-out-the-vote efforts come a new lexicon. Ben Zimmer, WSJ, "‘Textavism’ Is the New Way To Rally the Party Faithful," 16 Nov. 2018 The Oxford English Dictionary added 420 to its lexicon last year after reviewing the Waldos’ records and credits the men as the creators. Paul Elias, BostonGlobe.com, "What is 4/20, and why is it a stoner holiday? A look at how ‘420’ became linked to marijuana," 19 Apr. 2018 Over the past decade or so, rappers have developed their own luxury-brand lexicons through their signature songs. Rachel Hahn, Vogue, "Young Thug Reps More Than Chanel in His New Music Video," 27 Nov. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'lexicon.' 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 lexicon

1580, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for lexicon

Late Greek lexikon, from neuter of lexikos of words, from Greek lexis word, speech, from legein to say — more at legend

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Statistics for lexicon

Last Updated

8 Mar 2019

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Time Traveler for lexicon

The first known use of lexicon was in 1580

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English Language Learners Definition of lexicon

: the words used in a language or by a person or group of people

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Comments on lexicon

What made you want to look up lexicon? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


of or relating to a parable or parabola

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