vernacular

adjective
ver·​nac·​u·​lar | \ vər-ˈna-kyə-lər How to pronounce vernacular (audio) , və- \

Definition of vernacular

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : using a language or dialect native to a region or country rather than a literary, cultured, or foreign language
b : of, relating to, or being a nonstandard language or dialect of a place, region, or country
c : of, relating to, or being the normal spoken form of a language
2 : applied to a plant or animal in the common native speech as distinguished from the Latin nomenclature of scientific classification the vernacular name
3 : of, relating to, or characteristic of a period, place, or group especially : of, relating to, or being the common building style of a period or place vernacular architecture

vernacular

noun

Definition of vernacular (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a vernacular language, expression, or mode of expression : an expression or mode of expression that occurs in ordinary speech rather than formal writing
2 : the mode of expression of a group or class
3 : a common name of a plant or animal as distinguished from the Latin nomenclature of scientific classification : a vernacular name of a plant or animal

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Other Words from vernacular

Adjective

vernacularly adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for vernacular

Synonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Adjective

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Examples of vernacular in a Sentence

Adjective While there are American operas galore, some of which are quite good indeed, there is no vernacular opera tradition in America—instead, we have musical comedy—and now that supertitles have become standard equipment at major American opera houses, the chances that those houses will start regularly performing foreign-language operas in English translation have dropped from slim to none. — Terry Teachout, New York Times Book Review, 9 Nov. 1997 Native crafts, the use of local materials, and vernacular buildings were considered integral to each country's heritage, and their preservation and revival became part of the movement to forge a strong national identity. — Wendy Kaplan, Antiques, October 1995 For the proliferation of rich vernacular literatures in the twelfth century secured the place of the vulgar tongues in European society, and this entrenchment of the vernacular tongues made the European peoples more conscious of being separated from each other; decreased the cosmopolitan attitudes of the European nobility; and encouraged xenophobia, which became common in the thirteenth century. — Norman F. Cantor, The Civilization of the Middle Ages, 1993 Hurricanes, fires and economic development unfortunately have caused many examples of both vernacular and more classical architecture to disappear over the years. — Suzanne Stephens, Architectural Digest, 1 Aug. 1990 the vernacular architecture of the region writes essays in a very easy-to-read, vernacular style Noun But ask baseball people about [Michael] Young, and they'll admiringly tell you that he is a "grinder," vernacular for a player who works his butt off. — Chris Ballard, Sports Illustrated, 8 May 2006 … the sources for [Cole] Porter's chromaticism and syncopation are the vernacular of black music in America. — Stephen Brown, Times Literary Supplement, 21 Jan. 2005 For Lu Xun helped revolutionize Chinese writing, tugging the written language toward the vernacular so that it was easier to learn, and he even endorsed the heresy of abandoning Chinese characters for the Roman alphabet so that literacy could spread more easily. — Amy Hempel, New York Times Book Review, 19 Aug. 1990 New Mexico is not the easiest region in the country for an architect to establish a practice in. It is not that the area is indifferent to architecture—it is more that the traditional south-western architectural vernacular is so awe-inspiring that it tends to overwhelm most efforts to create a credible personal voice. — Paul Goldberger, Architectural Digest, October 1986 What was required was a vagrant and a visionary, a man of mystic recklessness. The man who dared point the way would have to use the vernacular, and not speak but shriek. Paracelsus (1493–1541) was suspect in his day, and never lost his reputation as a charlatan. — Daniel J. Boorstin, The Discoverers, 1983 He spoke in the vernacular of an urban teenager. phrases that occur in the common vernacular
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The Housing Lark celebrates West Indian vernacular cultures in all their multiple manifestations, from language to food, music, religion, nicknames, history, and ultimately to vernacular forms of knowledge. Dohra Ahmad, The New York Review of Books, "A Lark in West Indian London," 10 Jan. 2020 Still the commitment to a vernacular aesthetic rather than to factual information. Luke Mogelson, The New Yorker, "“Relentless Absurdity”: An Army Photographer’s Censored Images," 19 Jan. 2020 Even beyond the innovative choice of omniscient vernacular narrator, this is a novel in love with West Indian Vernacular English (WIVE). Dohra Ahmad, The New York Review of Books, "A Lark in West Indian London," 10 Jan. 2020 Selvon’s novels are extremely rare in their choice to bestow narrative authority—in other words, objective knowledge—on a vernacular narrator. Dohra Ahmad, The New York Review of Books, "A Lark in West Indian London," 10 Jan. 2020 Considered in light of today’s celebrated new buildings that merely soothe or entertain, this legacy of vernacular modernism offers a chastening tonic. Thomas De Monchaux, The New Yorker, "Ezra Stoller Turned Buildings Into Monuments," 6 Oct. 2019 Like Ansari, many of India’s TikTok stars live in small towns or villages, have either never made it to college or dropped out, and speak their vernacular language. The Economist, "This Indian TikTok star wants you to know his name," 13 Sep. 2019 Like Ansari, many of India’s TikTok stars live in small towns or villages, have either never made it to college or dropped out, and speak their vernacular language. The Economist, "This Indian TikTok star wants you to know his name," 13 Sep. 2019 Like Ansari, many of India’s TikTok stars live in small towns or villages, have either never made it to college or dropped out, and speak their vernacular language. The Economist, "This Indian TikTok star wants you to know his name," 13 Sep. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Hurston’s work has been a guiding light for my own writing, especially its radical insistence on the value of singular attention to black communities, the black vernacular and black oral traditions of speech and storytelling. Naomi Jackson, Washington Post, "For many writers, Zora Neale Hurston’s work has been a guiding light. Now there’s even more to read.," 16 Jan. 2020 Where Erasmus wrote exclusively in Latin, Luther often used the vernacular, the better to reach the common man. The New York Review of Books, "Michael Massing," 14 Jan. 2016 Her career also contributed to modern computer vernacular. Lauren Kent, CNN, "The heroines STEM: Ten women in science you should know," 28 Jan. 2020 Calbright vernacular isn’t the only thing old-school academicians find unfamiliar. Nanette Asimov, SFChronicle.com, "Calbright College opens Tuesday — where are the students and teachers?," 28 Sep. 2019 Here’s how to make profanity part of your smartphone’s vernacular. Matthew De Silva, Quartz, "How to teach your phone to curse," 17 Dec. 2019 Darren has a knack for teenagers, high school, and his vernacular. Kerensa Cadenas, EW.com, "An oral history of the pitch-black '90s comedy Jawbreaker," 13 Dec. 2019 But Foxx says the most difficult part in replicating McMillian’s voice was crafting the right vernacular and pitch to sound authentic and not like a caricature. al, "Watch Jamie Foxx talk about preparing to portray Walter McMillian in ‘Just Mercy’," 7 Dec. 2019 The local accents and vernaculars of the characters may initially bewilder some American ears. Ben Brantley, New York Times, "Review: ‘Barber Shop Chronicles’ Offers an Exhilarating Sanctuary," 4 Dec. 2019

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

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First Known Use of vernacular

Adjective

1601, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Noun

1661, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for vernacular

Adjective

Latin vernāculus "belonging to the household, domestic, native" (from verna "slave born in the household"—of uncertain origin— + -āculus, perhaps originally diminutive suffix, though derivation is unclear) + -ar

Noun

noun derivative of vernacular entry 1

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Time Traveler for vernacular

Time Traveler

The first known use of vernacular was in 1601

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Statistics for vernacular

Last Updated

17 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Vernacular.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/vernacular. Accessed 22 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for vernacular

vernacular

adjective
How to pronounce vernacular (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of vernacular

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: of, relating to, or using the language of ordinary speech rather than formal writing
: of or relating to the common style of a particular time, place, or group

vernacular

noun

English Language Learners Definition of vernacular (Entry 2 of 2)

: the language of ordinary speech rather than formal writing

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