loan·​word ˈlōn-ˌwərd How to pronounce loanword (audio)
: a word taken from another language and at least partly naturalized

Examples of loanword in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web During this period, more than 10,000 loanwords from French entered the English language, mostly in domains where the aristocracy held sway: the arts, military, medicine, law and religion. Phillip M. Carter, Fortune Well, 12 June 2023 Most English loanwords borrow from languages that, like English, use the Latin alphabet. Sarah Bunin Benor, The Conversation, 21 May 2020 With the mega-success of Starbucks and its various coffee competitors, BARISTA has transformed from a somewhat niche Italian loanword to a term most everyone not only knows but uses regularly. Ryan P. Smith, Smithsonian Magazine, 31 Dec. 2019 And so the language planners, led by linguist Ari Páll Kristinsson, are working furiously to match every English word or concept with an Icelandic one—giving young Icelanders no excuse for depending on loanwords learned online. Caitlin Hu, Quartz, 2 June 2019 Each provided loanwords, words adopted from a donor language without translation. Courtney Linder, The Christian Science Monitor, 19 Apr. 2018 Local journalists describe the scenes here as the local telenovela, a Spanish loanword meaning soap opera. Joseph Hincks / Manila, Time, 27 Oct. 2017 Sadly, these words failed to stick, and nowadays one is forced to answer wrong numbers on a loanword: tilifun. Peter Hessler, The New Yorker, 7 Apr. 2017 It’s time for chimaek, a tradition that combines the Korean term for beer, maekju, with the English loanword for chicken. Wesley Yang, Bon Appetit, 9 May 2017 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'loanword.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1869, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of loanword was in 1869

Dictionary Entries Near loanword

Cite this Entry

“Loanword.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


loan·​word ˈlōn-ˌwərd How to pronounce loanword (audio)
: a word that is taken into one language from another

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