lo·​cu·​tion | \ lō-ˈkyü-shən How to pronounce locution (audio) \

Definition of locution

1 : a particular form of expression or a peculiarity of phrasing especially : a word or expression characteristic of a region, group, or cultural level
2 : style of discourse : phraseology

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of locution in a Sentence

We were taught to avoid certain locutions when speaking. in the poet's somewhat affected locution, word order is often reversed and so we have “the sea serene”
Recent Examples on the Web With its mess of divergent voices, picture-poems, and eccentric locutions, the result is baffling, beautiful, and always fascinatingly Notley. David Wallace, The New Yorker, "Alice Notley and the Art of Not Giving a Damn," 1 Apr. 2020 President Lyndon Baines Johnson was a retro Texan by birth and locution. Chris Jones, chicagotribune.com, "Review: Broadway’s ‘Great Society’ about LBJ has lots of history but no real bite," 2 Oct. 2019 Consider common appeals to allyship and altruism; such locutions convey a sort of optional quality, a moralistic tone, and unreliable trendiness. Astra Taylor, The New Republic, "One for All," 26 Aug. 2019 On this night, Dylan made every word count, and sang with a blues master’s locution. Greg Kot, chicagotribune.com, "Review: Bob Dylan in fine voice at UIC? Yes, you read that right," 31 Oct. 2019 American English is meant to grow wild and woolly on our shores, spawning dialects and pidgins, wantonly consuming foreign words and locutions, anarchically legitimizing slang and warped grammar. Virginia Heffernan, WIRED, "The Delicate Art of Creating New Emoji," 28 June 2018 This is an engrossing story, which Wood tells with a mastery of detail and a modern plainness of expression that makes a refreshing contrast with the 18th-century locutions of his subjects. Richard Brookhiser, New York Times, "In ‘Friends Divided,’ John Adams and Thomas Jefferson Beg to Differ," 31 Oct. 2017 Over the past decade a new, and very revealing, locution has drifted from our universities into the media mainstream: Speaking as an X…This is not an anodyne phrase. Mark Lilla, WSJ, "The Liberal Crackup," 11 Aug. 2017 The result has been an ever more naked public square, another memorable Neuhaus locution, where religion is viewed as a merely private affair with no public relevance. Ryan T. Anderson, National Review, "The Continuing Threat to Religious Liberty," 3 Aug. 2017

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

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for locution

Middle English locucion, borrowed from Anglo-French, borrowed from Latin locūtiōn-, locūtiō "act or manner of speaking, phrase, expression," from locū-, variant stem of loquī "to speak, talk" + -tiōn-, -tiō, suffix of verbal action — more at eloquent

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about locution

Time Traveler for locution

Time Traveler

The first known use of locution was in the 15th century

See more words from the same century

Statistics for locution

Cite this Entry

“Locution.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/locution. Accessed 27 Jan. 2021.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for locution


How to pronounce locution (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of locution

technical : a particular way of using words : a word or phrase

More from Merriam-Webster on locution

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for locution

Nglish: Translation of locution for Spanish Speakers

Comments on locution

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


Test Your Vocabulary

Slippery Words Quiz—Changing with the Times

  • ducreux self portrait yawning
  • What is an earlier meaning of nice?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!


Anagram puzzles meet word search.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!