lin·go | \ˈliŋ-(ˌ)gō \
plural lingos or lingoes

Definition of lingo 

: strange or incomprehensible language or speech: such as

a : a foreign language It can be hard to travel in a foreign country if you don't speak the lingo.

b : the special vocabulary of a particular field of interest The book has a lot of computer lingo.

c : 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

Keep scrolling for more

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

The news reports, in turn, have bombarded the uninitiated with stock market lingo that may sound strange. Paul Davidson, USA TODAY, "10 stock market words you need to understand when the Dow Jones turns bumpy," 8 Feb. 2018 Learn the lingo, old chap: Hood = bonnet, trunk = boot, windshield = windscreen. Sorted. Luann Gibbs,, "Top 5 events in Cincinnati this weekend," 6 July 2018 Only one of the 11 participants on a side — that’s soccer lingo — can use his or her hands. Bob Ryan,, "You don’t have to love soccer to appreciate the greatness of the World Cup," 29 June 2018 Moon lingo Terms associated with the moon phases are: Waxing: The moon is on its way to becoming full. Susan Selasky And Emma Tomsich, Detroit Free Press, "Strawberry moon, Saturn to light up sky tonight," 27 June 2018 Hyland said a line carrying around 4,000 volts — 4KV in the lingo — can usually withstand trees. John Kelly, Washington Post, "Ever noticed chunks of trees on utility pole wires? What’s up with that?," 2 July 2018 In the lingo of restaurants and bars, eighty-six is an old bit of coded slang that can mean that an item on the menu isn’t available—or, as is evidently the case here, that a customer should be removed from the premises. Ben Zimmer, The Atlantic, "A Restaurant “Eighty-Sixed” Sarah Huckabee Sanders. What Does That Mean?," 23 June 2018 In ancient four-man-rotation lingo, he's simply been the Beavers' stopper, which of course overlooks one very inconvenient truth. Ron Richmond For The Oregonian/oregonlive,, "Inside Luke Heimlich's senior season with the Oregon State baseball team," 8 June 2018 Pele's hair joins a growing list of bizarre volcanic phenomena lingo that also includes laze and vog. Doyle Rice, USA TODAY, "Yes, 'Pele's hair' is falling from the sky in Hawaii," 30 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'lingo.' 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 lingo

1659, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for lingo

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about lingo

Dictionary Entries near lingo



ling ko


lingoa wood



Statistics for lingo

Last Updated

7 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for lingo

The first known use of lingo was in 1659

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for lingo



English Language Learners Definition of lingo

: a language

: the special language used for a particular activity or by a particular group of people

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on lingo

What made you want to look up lingo? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


evasion of direct action or statement

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Great Scrabble Words—A Quiz

  • scrabble-tiles-that-read-scrabble-quiz
  • Which of the following Q-without-U words means the number five in cards or dice?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!


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


Love words? Need even more definitions?

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