lexicon

noun
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

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for lexicon

Synonyms

dictionary, wordbook

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

Feminine but chic, in the Off-White lexicon, is not quite the polished bourgeois attitude that trended elsewhere in Paris, but a savvy conceal-reveal proposition that puts women in charge. Amanda Brooks, Vogue, "The Making of Off-White’s Fall 2019 Show," 15 Mar. 2019 After five seasons of the show (which left the air last year), shiplap has cemented itself in the modern design lexicon as the cornerstone of a certain kind of Instagram-ready, nouveau-farmhouse decor. Hadley Keller, House Beautiful, "The Real Story Behind Joanna Gaines's Beloved Shiplap," 12 Feb. 2019 Thanks to FX and Cate Blanchett, the long-dormant fight is about to resurface in the pop cultural lexicon. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "Mrs. America: Everything We Know So Far About Cate Blanchett's FX Show," 10 Jan. 2019 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

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

Statistics for lexicon

Last Updated

22 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for lexicon

The first known use of lexicon was in 1580

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for lexicon

lexicon

noun

English Language Learners Definition of lexicon

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).

WORD OF THE DAY

grandiloquent, ostentatious, or bombastic

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Original Meanings Quiz

  • rembrandt-painting-a-young-scholar-and-his-tutor
  • Which of the following is the earliest known sense of the word awe?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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