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

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for lexicon


Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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 Consumers, too, could use the lexicon to navigate the sea of positivity better. Derek Rucker, Forbes, "Where Stars Fall Short: The Positivity Problem With Online Ratings," 20 Apr. 2021 Even the lexicon of juvenile court is different from adult court. Washington Post, "Prosecutor to offer plea deals for girls, 13 and 15, accused in fatal D.C. carjacking," 31 Mar. 2021 Describing that war means raiding the lexicon of misery. Sigrid Macrae, Harper's Magazine, "Two Germanys," 16 Mar. 2021 Established almost by accident in a way that allows unlimited debate, the filibuster practice dots early congressional history, but entered the lexicon on the eve of the Civil War. Lisa Mascaro, ajc, "Senate filibuster's racist past fuels arguments for its end," 10 Apr. 2021 Whimsical word coinage is more prevalent than ever in a world where our lexicon is being continually fertilized by the playful spirit of those who play games of hallway Ping-Pong and lounge on beanbag chairs in our cyber-vineyards. Ralph Keyes, Time, "From ‘Scientist’ to ‘Spam,’ the Surprisingly Playful Origins of English Words," 1 Apr. 2021 During this giddy, anticipatory time of year, our gardens burst with blooms and our lexicon with words heralding breaths of fresh air and opportunities to start again: Resurgence. Leslie Barker, Dallas News, "In so many ways, springtime brings hope," 1 Apr. 2021 Shame simply has no place in the lexicon of a stylish person, and anyone wearing a beret should do so with aplomb. Dave Schilling, Los Angeles Times, "Are the beret wearers of Silver Lake and Echo Park here for revolution or croissants?," 17 Mar. 2021 But his artistic lexicon, which from the beginning was material- and process-oriented, has become gradually more imagistic. Washington Post, "Peter Sacks is one of the most compelling artists in America. But he didn’t find his voice until late in life.," 5 Mar. 2021

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about lexicon

Time Traveler for lexicon

Time Traveler

The first known use of lexicon was in 1580

See more words from the same year

Statistics for lexicon

Last Updated

9 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Lexicon.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/lexicon. Accessed 18 May. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for lexicon



English Language Learners Definition of lexicon

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

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).


Test Your Vocabulary

Words Used by Nabokov Quiz

  • image1676440788
  • Choose the best definition or synonym for the word in bold: "There are some eructations that sound like cheers—at least, mine did." Lolita
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


Anagram puzzles meet word search.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!