lin·guist | \ˈliŋ-gwist \

Definition of linguist 

1 : a person accomplished in languages especially : one who speaks several languages

2 : a person who specializes in linguistics

Examples of linguist in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

The biggest expenses were new film-making techniques and graphics as well as the creation of a new language that involved hiring a linguist. Charles Stockdale And John Harrington, USA TODAY, "From 'Transformers' to 'Avatar,' these are the 50 most expensive movies ever made," 6 July 2018 Then came the backlash, from linguists and experts in sign languages. The Economist, "What Koko the gorilla could and couldn’t do," 5 July 2018 Pinker, it must be pointed out, is not a technologist, but a psychologist and linguist. David Z. Morris, Fortune, "Elon Musk Blasts Harvard’s Steven Pinker Over Comments Dismissing the Threat of Artificial Intelligence," 3 Mar. 2018 Daniel Everett, a linguist, claims that Pirahã, an Amazonian language, lacks recursion, and that its speakers do not talk about the distant past or future at all. The Economist, "What Koko the gorilla could and couldn’t do," 5 July 2018 Marcus Perlman, a linguist at the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom, spent time with Koko as a doctoral student in 2010. Hailey Branson-potts,, "Koko, the gorilla whose sign language abilities changed our view of animal intelligence, dies at 46," 22 June 2018 Photo: The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri The king’s retinue also includes his linguist, or spokesman, who ensures that his statements reflect Asante tradition and law. Susan Delson, WSJ, "In Dallas, the Golden Legacy of Ghana," 12 Apr. 2018 He then was married for 35 years to Frances Karttunen, a linguist, historian, and author. Globe Staff And Wire Reports,, "Alfred W. Crosby, 87, of Nantucket, pioneering environmental historian," 9 Apr. 2018 The findings are impressive in some ways and frustrating in others, notes Paul Heggarty, a historical linguist at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in Jena, Germany. Michael Price, Science | AAAS, "These Asian hunter-gatherers may have been the first people to domesticate horses," 9 May 2018

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

1591, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for linguist

Latin lingua language, tongue

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about linguist

Statistics for linguist

Last Updated

14 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for linguist

The first known use of linguist was in 1591

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for linguist



English Language Learners Definition of linguist

: a person who speaks several languages

: a person who studies linguistics


lin·guist | \ˈliŋ-gwist \

Kids Definition of linguist

1 : a person skilled in languages

2 : a person who specializes in the study of human speech

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on linguist

Spanish Central: Translation of linguist

Nglish: Translation of linguist for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of linguist for Arabic Speakers

Comments on linguist

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


exaggeratedly or childishly emotional

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Roman Mythology Quiz

  • the-triumph-of-venus-by-alessandro-magnasco
  • Boreal comes from the name of the ancient Greek god of which wind?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


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!