lin·​go ˈliŋ-(ˌ)gō How to pronounce lingo (audio)
plural lingos or lingoes
: strange or incomprehensible language or speech: such as
: a foreign language
It can be hard to travel in a foreign country if you don't speak the lingo.
: the special vocabulary of a particular field of interest
The book has a lot of computer lingo.
: language characteristic of an individual
He has his own lingo … and at the top of each shift, he delivers a monologue that sets the table for his show.Tim Sullivan

Examples of lingo in a Sentence

It can be hard to travel in a foreign country if you don't speak the lingo. The book has a lot of computer lingo that I don't understand.
Recent Examples on the Web Buying new kicks for a race, treadmill workout, or leisurely outdoor jog isn’t as simple as finding a fun style and cool color: There’s a lot of running shoe terminology thrown around, which can make shopping for shoes pretty confusing—especially if all that lingo makes your head spin. Cindy Kuzma, SELF, 19 Oct. 2023 Pardon the baseball lingo, but Garvey leaned on it heavily himself in a video announcing his candidacy Tuesday. George Skelton, Los Angeles Times, 12 Oct. 2023 In that case, the lingo more or less matches what the Almanac says. Will Brantley, Field & Stream, 28 Sep. 2023 Old Forge In Old Forge, a town near Scranton, Pa., the pizza tradition is all about the lingo. Emily Heil, Washington Post, 31 Aug. 2023 Adapt, learn the lingo and maybe even eat lunch with the band geeks. Seth Yudof, Rolling Stone, 16 Aug. 2023 The important, humanist point made in Strange Way of Life comes through Almodóvar’s understanding that the Western genre forged recognizable — international — cinema lingo. Armond White, National Review, 27 Oct. 2023 Familiarize yourself with local lingo when asking for the bathroom. Andrea Romano, Travel + Leisure, 28 Aug. 2023 Before Trump, the GOP consistently called for efforts to hold down the cost of those programs, referred to in budget lingo as entitlements. David Lauter, Los Angeles Times, 27 Sep. 2023 See More

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

Word History


probably from Lingua Franca, language, tongue, from Occitan, from Latin lingua — more at tongue

First Known Use

1659, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of lingo was in 1659

Dictionary Entries Near lingo

Cite this Entry

“Lingo.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


lin·​go ˈliŋ-gō How to pronounce lingo (audio)
plural lingoes
: language that is strange or hard to understand

More from Merriam-Webster on lingo

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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