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

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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

That state of affairs put Nvidia in an interesting position in August when the company announced a new wave of graphics cards with even more terminology and lingo attached. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Nvidia RTX 2080 and 2080 Ti review: A tale of two very expensive graphics cards," 19 Sep. 2018 Borderless world, open borders, open markets, free thought, whatever their lingo is. Fox News, "Ken Starr: Impeachment is hell," 11 Sep. 2018 Pour on the dark, smoky, secret-recipe dip (Lexington lingo for sauce). Frances Bailey, Country Living, "North Carolina BBQ Road Trip Route," 7 July 2014 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

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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Learn More about lingo

Dictionary Entries near lingo



ling ko


lingoa wood



Statistics for lingo

Last Updated

30 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for lingo

The first known use of lingo was in 1659

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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

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More from Merriam-Webster on lingo

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with lingo

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for lingo

Spanish Central: Translation of lingo

Nglish: Translation of lingo for Spanish Speakers

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