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poly·​glot ˈpä-lē-ˌglät How to pronounce polyglot (audio)
: one who is polyglot
capitalized : a book containing versions of the same text in several languages
especially : the Scriptures in several languages
: a mixture or confusion of languages or nomenclatures


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

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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
Bernardo Arévalo, a polyglot sociologist from an upstart party made up largely of urban professionals, took 58 percent of the vote with 98 percent of votes counted on Sunday, the electoral authority said. Jody García, New York Times, 21 Aug. 2023 Enter Email Sign Up The composer has always been a genre-blender, and the musicians’ polyglot nature plays well with his strengths. Globe Staff, BostonGlobe.com, 1 May 2023 Dance polyglots abound in the entertainment industry. Margaret Fuhrer, New York Times, 19 June 2023 Diaspora Problems represents the blossoming of all their ideas — a polyglot of genres representing a new musical language unique to Soul Glo. Kory Grow, Rolling Stone, 26 June 2023 The latest venture from the polyglot artist, fashion designer and first-time director aims to support and nurture fellow directors breaking into the industry, and more specifically, looking to make their first feature film. Abbey White, The Hollywood Reporter, 12 May 2023 Its location, in one L.A.’s most polyglot corners, has been a mixed blessing. Reed Johnson, Los Angeles Times, 3 May 2023 The veteran globetrotter and expert polyglot takes us on a quest to excavate the roots of African descendants in countries around Latin America, starting with San Jose, Costa Rica, where the black natives built the country’s biggest infrastructure in the 1900s: the railroad. Marjua Estevez, Condé Nast Traveler, 9 Oct. 2020 The apex of the language gambit seems to be those amazing polyglots that know a dozen or dozens of languages. Lance Eliot, Forbes, 19 Apr. 2023
The previously dazzling and polyglot metropole of Vienna became merely the capital of Austria, a tiny and economically ravaged rump state whose awkward geography was made up mostly (but not exclusively) of German speakers. Patrick Blanchfield, The New Republic, 1 Sep. 2022 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 See More

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

Word History



derivative of polyglot entry 2; (sense 2) in part after the Complutensian Polyglot, a multilingual printed edition of the Bible completed in 1517


borrowed from Greek (Attic) polýglōssos, (non-Attic) polýglōttos "speaking with many tongues, conveying many messages, in many languages," from poly- poly- + -glōssos, -glōttos, adjective derivative of glôssa, glôtta "tongue, language" — more at gloss entry 3

First Known Use


circa 1645, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1650, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of polyglot was circa 1645


Dictionary Entries Near polyglot

Cite this Entry

“Polyglot.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/polyglot. Accessed 27 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


: speaking or writing several languages
: containing or composed of several languages
polyglot noun

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