pro·​to·​lan·​guage ˈprō-tō-ˌlaŋ-gwij How to pronounce protolanguage (audio)
: an assumed or recorded ancestral language

Examples of protolanguage in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Others claim protolanguage was dominated by pantomimed gestures — a society built on charades. Bridget Alex, Discover Magazine, 7 Dec. 2018 An alternate view envisions protolanguage characterized by gesture and pantomime. Bridget Alex, Discover Magazine, 7 Dec. 2018

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'protolanguage.' 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

1948, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of protolanguage was in 1948

Dictionary Entries Near protolanguage

Cite this Entry

“Protolanguage.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Nov. 2023.

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