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

Ives Goddard, a senior linguist emeritus in the Department of Anthropology at the Smithsonian Institution, also weighed in. Lisa Rathke, The Seattle Times, "Vermont board rejects mountain name change proposal," 17 July 2018 More importantly, the inscriptions may offer linguists some insight into the development of the Aramaic language. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, "Ancient “comic strip” depicts the founding of a Roman city," 10 Oct. 2018 The former Air Force linguist earned the distinction of being the first person prosecuted by the Trump administration on charges of leaking classified information under the Espionage Act. Robert Hackett, Fortune, "Cyber Saturday—How Science Could Have Saved Reality Winner," 1 July 2018 Winner, a former Air Force linguist, was working as a contractor for the NSA at Ft. Jenny Jarvie,, "Reality Winner, the ex-NSA contractor accused of leaking secrets, pleads guilty," 27 June 2018 Before meeting Chomsky, Dr. Halle helped hire his wife, the linguist and educator Carol Chomsky, who went on to teach at Harvard and who died in 2008. Bryan Marquard,, "Morris Halle, who helped found MIT’s linguistics program, dies at 94," 7 Apr. 2018 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

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.

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First Known Use of linguist

1591, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for linguist

Latin lingua language, tongue

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Statistics for linguist

Last Updated

7 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for linguist

The first known use of linguist was in 1591

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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

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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

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a soft lustrous wool fabric with mohair

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