lin·​go | \ ˈliŋ-(ˌ)gō How to pronounce lingo (audio) \
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

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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 And threading through it like a low-grade fever, effacing and degrading Spanish and Spanish speakers as lowbrow, and mispronouncing words and names to demonstrate it’s not a lingo worth bothering about. Los Angeles Times, "San Pedro, Los Feliz, even Los Angeles: Why do we pronounce our place names this way?," 23 Feb. 2021 As well, Trump supporters who flooded the Capitol were quick to co-opt lingo from the American Revolution and the nation's founding documents to paint themselves as patriots instead of extremists. Michael Kunzelman And Amanda Seitz, Star Tribune, "Dozens charged in Capitol riots spewed extremist rhetoric," 15 Feb. 2021 All of this in-crowd lingo spills across the web to YouTube, TikTok, Snapchat and more, becoming memes within memes. New York Times, "The Misfits Shaking Wall Street," 29 Jan. 2021 Kirill Kaprizov has the small-talk lingo down, greeting his Wild teammates in English and stringing together phases that describe everyday life. Sarah Mclellan, Star Tribune, "In his first week, Kirill Kaprizov fits in well with Wild," 7 Jan. 2021 In the legislative lingo that rules the Senate, that is a far cry from guaranteeing approval of the higher amount. New York Times, "Trump’s Veto Threat Did Little to Alter Stimulus Package," 28 Dec. 2020 In its long and esteemed history as one of the most respected newspapers in the world, the New York Times apparently has a blind spot: Texas lingo. Abigail Rosenthal, Chron, "Hey New York Times, 'Rio' means 'river.' You don't have to call it the 'Rio Grande River.'," 13 Jan. 2021 For musical-theater nerds: Audio dramas — podcast-industry lingo for fictional podcasts — can sometimes get in trouble if a show is too well done. New York Times, "Icy Podcasts to Warm Your Cold, Cold Heart," 2 Jan. 2021 The cases alone demand headlines, but DeVillers also has a way of breaking out of the tropes of normal law enforcement press conferences filled with lingo that is the stuff of journalists’ nightmares. cleveland, "The top newsmakers in Ohio politics for 2020: Analysis," 27 Dec. 2020

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.

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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

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Statistics for lingo

Last Updated

3 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Lingo.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Mar. 2021.

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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

More from Merriam-Webster on lingo

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for lingo

Nglish: Translation of lingo for Spanish Speakers

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