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

In gambling parlance, this is the equivalent of leaving money on the table, and in an economic lexicon, the equivalent of an economy that is churning below peak possibilities. Dallas Morning News, Twin Cities, "Other voices: Trump plan to expand apprenticeships is timely, intriguing," 30 June 2019 Indeed, a Boris-Trump alliance could rewrite much of the pre-Brexit logic and diplomatic landscape, two self-admiring charismatic populists with similar agendas, albeit with polar opposite lexicons. Nic Robertson, CNN, "The week that finally laid bare the Brexit myths," 9 June 2019 The series’ humor is also infused with an aggressively female lexicon. Jill Gutowitz, Glamour, "Killing Eve Is Made for Women By Women, and It Shows," 8 Apr. 2019 The complexity of gender is not the only reason that pronoun declarations are not going to infiltrate all offices with the same ease as, say, emojis, acronyms, and other additions to our lexicon. Lila Maclellan, Quartz at Work, "Those she/her/hers at the end of email messages are more than a passing trend," 24 June 2019 The first movie may have awakened every viewer’s inner pediophobe 31 years ago, but devil dolls have long since saturated the contemporary horror lexicon, and not even Mancini’s Chucky corners the market anymore. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Review: Controversial ‘Child’s Play’ remake is creepy fun before it malfunctions," 20 June 2019 To describe the future of work, Richard Baldwin is developing a new lexicon. Eshe Nelson, Quartz, "Globots and telemigrants: The new language of the future of work," 14 June 2019 Caviar is reentering the mainstream lexicon thanks to Craig Page, founder of Pearl Street Caviar, a food company that aims to reintroduce eaters to one of the world's priciest -- and most elusive -- delicacies. Megan Cerullo, CBS News, "Pearl Street Caviar strives to bring pricey delicacy to the masses," 5 June 2019 Once in a great while, a TV show comes along that enters our collective cultural lexicon. Tyler Aquilina, EW.com, "MTV launching reimagined Punk'd and Singled Out for Jeffrey Katzenberg's Quibi platform," 4 June 2019

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

12 Jul 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

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to complain fretfully

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