lexicon

noun

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
1
: a book containing an alphabetical arrangement of the words in a language and their definitions : dictionary
a French lexicon
2
a
: 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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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 His catch phrases became part of the American lexicon. David Fear, Rolling Stone, 1 Apr. 2024 Few parts of the natural world have been spared from the corporate lexicon, with its changing landscapes and seismic shifts. Sam Dean, Los Angeles Times, 13 Mar. 2024 See all Example Sentences for lexicon 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'lexicon.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

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

First Known Use

1580, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of lexicon was in 1580

Dictionary Entries Near lexicon

Cite this Entry

“Lexicon.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/lexicon. Accessed 16 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

lexicon

noun
lex·​i·​con ˈlek-sə-ˌkän How to pronounce lexicon (audio)
-si-kən

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