lin·​guist | \ ˈliŋ-gwist How to pronounce linguist (audio) \

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 linguist was originally scheduled to present her results on Saturday (May 26), during a workshop at the International Space Development Conference (ISDC) 2018 in Los Angeles. Mike Wall,, "Decoding Alien Messages Could Be the Biggest Citizen-Science Project Ever," 26 May 2018 The current rethinking of how to present the facts seems to be driven by Berkeley linguist George Lakoff, and is being cast in terms of concepts developed in communications theory in the 1980s. Crispin Sartwell, WSJ, "‘Truth Sandwich’? Baloney!," 5 Aug. 2018 Nicknamed the godmother of wellness, she was then married to Edmond Szekely, a renowned linguist, philosopher, psychologist, visionary, and natural-living mentor. Daisy Finer, Condé Nast Traveler, "The Golden Door Is the World's Most Iconic Spa," 21 Dec. 2018 The pattern is called Zipf’s law, named after the George Kingsley Zipf, an American linguist who lived in the first half of the 20th century. Brian Resnick, Vox, "What humpback whales can teach us about alien languages," 6 Dec. 2018 Jay McBride, a former Special Forces medic, told the newspaper that Barakat Ali Bashar, an Iraqi linguist, sacrificed his life to save a squad of American Special Forces from a suicide bomber’s attack near the Syrian border in Sept. 2007. Fox News, "US Special Forces troops seek visas for family of heroic Iraqi interpreter," 2 Oct. 2018 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

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

16 Mar 2019

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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 How to pronounce linguist (audio) \

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

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).


of or relating to a parable or parabola

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