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

On her site, Lab Muffin (, the chemist demystifies scientific lingo and product labels to help inform laypeople and promote critical thinking about abstruse beauty claims. Hana Hong, Marie Claire, "25 People Changing the Beauty Industry," 3 Sep. 2019 That man is always the head referee or, in their own lingo, the white hat. Ross Dellenger,, "Behind the Scenes as SEC Refs Get a Unique Primer at Georgia Camp," 22 Aug. 2019 Accounts like Sad Girls Club and Anxiety With Chillys combine Internet lingo and memes that seek to destigmatize and encourage an open conversation around things like mental health. Karina Hoshikawa, Allure, "How Motivational Instagram Accounts Are Changing My Relationship With Social Media," 28 May 2019 Given the lead time required to design a new car, VW will begin developing, in the next few years, what will be its last-ever vehicle powered by an internal-combustion engine—in the lingo, an ICE. Fortune, "Electric Car Gold Rush: The Auto Industry Charges Into China," 20 Aug. 2019 The lingo, according to the restaurant chain, first gained traction in the mid-1980s. Henri Hollis, ajc, "Your guide to Waffle House hash browns," 13 Aug. 2019 Giuseppe Bergomi: An Inter legend, Bergomi was, to use the kid's lingo, absolutely lights out dude, during the club's title winning 1988/89 campaign., "Giovanni Trapattoni: Il Trap's All-Time Best XI," 12 Aug. 2019 This summer wasn’t the first time that intern David Juarez had heard a professional lineman’s lingo. Vincent T. Davis,, "CPS Energy prepares next generation of San Antonio utility workers," 31 July 2019 Fact and fiction, after all, are blurred regularly in the world of activations, to use the vague marketing lingo that has become the norm for these game-like pop-up experiences. Los Angeles Times, "The Player: Living inside the game of Comic-Con and what ‘activations’ mean for fandom," 25 July 2019

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

7 Sep 2019

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

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).


to make a temporary encampment

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