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

colloquial, conversational, informal, nonformal, nonliterary, unbookish, unliterary, vulgar

Antonyms: Adjective

bookish, formal, learned, literary

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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

Handstands and guns appear, ghostly music, exigency — the passage bursts with vernacular gumption, prismatic parlance. Simone White, New York Times, "Poem: From ‘We Are Here to Slow Time’," 13 June 2018 Mercer boasted a remarkable grasp of American vernacular language. WSJ, "He Sang One for the Ages," 2 Nov. 2018 The couple was also inspired by vernacular architecture in the region, including agricultural structures with clean, simple forms that exalted their materials. Asad Syrkett, Curbed, "Year in Curbed: The best of House Calls," 26 Dec. 2018 The durable standing-seam metal roof was also a nod to vernacular architecture in the area. Samantha Weiss Hills, Curbed, "Embracing nature—and minimalism—in North Carolina," 26 Nov. 2018 The Adobe Apartments are significant for their association with Scottsdale's development as a major postwar tourist destination and for their vernacular architecture. azcentral, "Historic buildings in Scottsdale you need to see," 26 Apr. 2016 Shorter shrift is given to the role of vernacular architecture and how such traditional elements as the Ottoman divanhana (house-wrapping porch) enriched modernist structures. Julie V. Iovine, WSJ, "‘Toward a Concrete Utopia: Architecture in Yugoslavia, 1948-1980’ Review: An Imaginative Moment," 24 Aug. 2018 Also on the docket: a collaborative show at Kopeikin Gallery, in which painter Kirsten Tradowsky painted works from gallerist Paul Kopeikin’s collection of vernacular photography. Carolina A. Miranda, latimes.com, "Essential Arts: A wild procession, a female 'Tempest' and music's new sounds of protest," 30 June 2018 Designed by Anna-Marie Chin Architects, the 1,291-square-foot off-grid home, known as Tom’s House, combines the features of vernacular cabin architecture with contemporary twists, almost literally. Lauren Ro, Curbed, "Rent this black-clad off-grid cabin for your next holiday," 14 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Every region of the world produces geniuses of all colors and genders who define their own vernacular, changing our world one brick at a time. Charles Curkin, ELLE Decor, "The 2019 ELLE Decor Architecture A-List," 5 Feb. 2019 Helo, for example, is a similar product aimed at India with support for 14 local vernaculars, and TopBuzz does a similar thing in English. Sam Byford, The Verge, "How China’s Bytedance became the world’s most valuable startup," 30 Nov. 2018 Southern food lovers will recognize the basics of dishes from the region’s vernacular, but with captivating twists. Jennifer Bradley Franklin, Condé Nast Traveler, "3 Best Day Trips from Atlanta," 23 Aug. 2018 Carter begins this bedrock retracing of a life of faith by recounting, in down-to-earth vernacular, a boyhood steeped in Sunday school and church suppers, in farm work and field play with the African-American farm kids next door. Barbara Mahany, chicagotribune.com, "Jimmy Carter's latest book, 'Faith,' leads this week's roundup of spiritual books," 9 July 2018 But Dril isn’t just anyone: his posts have largely come to define the vernacular and culture of both the internet at large and Twitter in particular. Bijan Stephen, The Verge, "@Dril is the best chronicler of the internet’s last decade," 27 Sep. 2018 The company’s casual-chic aesthetic helped America define its own design vernacular, one that didn’t involve copying what was trending in Paris. Chavie Lieber, Vox, "The Calvin Klein brand hired big-name fashion designer Raf Simons to build relevancy. Now he’s out.," 27 Dec. 2018 In about eight hours, the Blade Runner glow and urban cacophony of China’s most populous city is dialed down to the languorous rural pace, vernacular dress, and rustic wooden dwellings of the country before the Opium Wars. Zandie Brockett, Condé Nast Traveler, "China's Southern Guizhou Region Is Like a Land Lost in Time," 24 Aug. 2018 As Wilson faked the handoff, Moore took a few steps to the left, then at about the 22, cut sharply to the right and down the sideline — a double move in football vernacular — which turned around Peters, allowing Moore to get easily behind him. Bob Condotta, The Seattle Times, "Seahawks Play of the Week: David Moore’s second TD epitomized everything that worked vs. the Rams," 9 Oct. 2018

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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Statistics for vernacular

Last Updated

31 Mar 2019

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Time Traveler for vernacular

The first known use of vernacular was in 1601

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More Definitions for vernacular

vernacular

adjective

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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