Definition of lingua franca
- English is used as a lingua franca among many airline pilots.
- movies are the lingua franca of the twentieth century
- —Gore Vidal
English is used as a lingua franca among many airline pilots.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'lingua franca.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
In the Middle Ages, the Arabs of the eastern Mediterranean referred to all Europeans as Franks (the name of the tribe that once occupied the land we call France). Since there was plenty of Arab-European trade, the traders in the Mediterranean ports eventually developed a trading language combining Italian, Arabic, and other languages, which almost everyone could more or less understand, and it became known as the "Frankish language", or lingua franca. Some languages actually succeed in becoming lingua francas without changing much. So, when the Roman empire became vast and mighty, Latin became the important lingua franca; and at a meeting between Japanese and Vietnamese businesspeople today, English may well be the only language spoken.
First Known Use: 1619See Words from the same year
What made you want to look up lingua franca? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).