poly·​glot | \ ˈpä-lē-ˌglät How to pronounce polyglot (audio) \

Definition of polyglot

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : one who is polyglot
2 capitalized : a book containing versions of the same text in several languages especially : the Scriptures in several languages
3 : a mixture or confusion of languages or nomenclatures



Definition of polyglot (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : speaking or writing several languages : multilingual
b : composed of numerous linguistic groups a polyglot population
2 : containing matter in several languages a polyglot sign
3 : composed of elements from different languages
4 : widely diverse (as in ethnic or cultural origins) a polyglot cuisine

Did you know?

Polyglot comes from Greek polyglōttos, a combination of poly-, meaning "many" or "multi-," and glōtta, "language." Eventually, the word came to describe multilingual diversity.

Examples of polyglot in a Sentence

Adjective a polyglot community made up of many cultures
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun To muster a cohesive battalion out of such a polyglot rabble, and do so before what most analysts predicted would be a swift Russian victory, seemed all but impossible. Seth Harp, Harper’s Magazine , 22 June 2022 The subprefecture of some remote French region may not be the dream of a polished polyglot envoy. Roger Cohen, BostonGlobe.com, 31 May 2022 Thackrey was not only a winemaker, but also an accomplished photographer, a professional art dealer, a polyglot who spoke seven languages and a kind of philosopher. Esther Mobley, San Francisco Chronicle, 31 May 2022 Raised speaking Spanish and English, Mr. Enriquez had become a sort of polyglot, having studied French, Italian and Latin. New York Times, 24 May 2022 This peripatetic life perhaps accounts for the polyglot nature of his artistic career. Los Angeles Times, 12 May 2022 Frankie Light is what’s known on social media as a YouTube polyglot. New York Times, 28 Apr. 2022 Vorontsova is a polyglot, speaking English, German, French and Dutch. Amiah Taylor, Fortune, 8 Apr. 2022 But in a polyglot world like ours (over 7,000 languages are spoken in the world today), language barriers have always been an unavoidable reality. Rob Toews, Forbes, 28 Mar. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Ty, a British rapper known for a lyrically thoughtful, musically polyglot approach to hip-hop and for serving as a bridge between generations of British rap, died on May 7 in London. Jon Caramanica, New York Times, 15 May 2020 Their politics are just one expression of that basic temperament—a temperament that might push them to live in polyglot cities, to hitchhike across Europe, to watch foreign-language films. Osita Nwanevu, The New Republic, 19 May 2020 When necessary, a translation service on speakerphone rounds out the polyglot medical chatter. David Montgomery, Washington Post, 31 Mar. 2020 This is why the MIT study of living polyglot brains offers more promise. TheWeek, 22 Feb. 2020 Even Kabul, which struggles daily to keep the Taliban at bay, was in the 16th century a polyglot place that beguiled a young Babur. Tunku Varadarajan, WSJ, 31 Jan. 2020 Donegal—that green archaism— and Manhattan in the nineteen-thirties, polyglot dynamo, all that was great about the twentieth century fermenting in its democratic casks. Campbell Mcgrath, The New Yorker, 13 Jan. 2020 Salazar’s heavy hand did not prevent a brisk business in books, newspapers, and magazines among the polyglot population of the city. Time, 3 Jan. 2020 Matthias Pintscher, in the pit, found the connecting threads in Neuwirth’s polyglot score. Alex Ross, The New Yorker, 30 Dec. 2019 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'polyglot.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of polyglot


circa 1645, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1650, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for polyglot

Adjective and Noun

Greek polyglōttos, from poly- + glōtta language — more at gloss

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The first known use of polyglot was circa 1645

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Last Updated

29 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Polyglot.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/polyglot. Accessed 15 Aug. 2022.

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