syn·​tac·​tic | \ sin-ˈtak-tik How to pronounce syntactic (audio) \
variants: or syntactical \ sin-​ˈtak-​ti-​kəl How to pronounce syntactic (audio) \

Definition of syntactic

: of, relating to, or according to the rules of syntax or syntactics

Other Words from syntactic

syntactically \ sin-​ˈtak-​ti-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce syntactic (audio) \ adverb

Examples of syntactic in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Chomsky cannot see any possibility that his interlocutor might make a valid point or two, or that any non-Chomskyan idea in syntactic theory might prove defensible. Geoffrey K. Pullum, National Review, 17 Feb. 2022 Their arguments were syntactic, based on where specific words and phrases could occur in grammatical sentences, and what would permit transformational operations to be simplified. Geoffrey K. Pullum, National Review, 17 Feb. 2022 One accepts it in this single case because this writer keeps a kind of terrifying command; the sentences jump ahead of even the most perceptive reader, with a syntactic thrust sufficiently forceful to overcome the aforementioned rules. Kerry Howley, Vulture, 25 Dec. 2021 An extra clause is a kind of deceit, a syntactic opportunity to hide the ball, contrary to the straight-shooting world of the TED talk, of counter-intuitive factoids delivered with Gladwellian regularity. Kerry Howley, Vulture, 25 Dec. 2021 Only years of practice, and perhaps a certain gift for syntactic complexity, can bring the practitioner to the highest level. George Calhoun, Forbes, 10 May 2021 Enjambment, when a syntactic unit overflows from one line to the next, is a bedrock poetic practice, one that endows poets with the capacity to make and remake meaning. Adam Bradley, New York Times, 4 Mar. 2021 Only in poetry is there so much flexibility and freedom to actually use those kind of pair words together that make intuitive sense but don’t make syntactic sense. Tara Duggan,, 30 Mar. 2020 Last Wednesday, with a pandemic spiking and the economy plummeting, Senator Charles Schumer finally lost his cool and dispensed with syntactic best practices in the name of urgency. David Roth, The New Republic, 24 Mar. 2020 See More

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

First Known Use of syntactic

1577, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for syntactic

New Latin syntacticus, from Greek syntaktikos arranging together, from syntassein

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The first known use of syntactic was in 1577

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Dictionary Entries Near syntactic



syntactic construction

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Cite this Entry

“Syntactic.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for syntactic


syn·​tac·​tic | \ sin-ˈtak-tik How to pronounce syntactic (audio) \
variants: or syntactical \ -​ti-​kəl How to pronounce syntactic (audio) \

Medical Definition of syntactic

: of or relating to syntactics

Other Words from syntactic

syntactically \ -​ti-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce syntactic (audio) \ adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on syntactic

Nglish: Translation of syntactic for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of syntactic for Arabic Speakers


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