Definition of vocabulary
1 : a list or collection of words or of words and phrases usually alphabetically arranged and explained or defined : lexicon
2a : a sum or stock of words employed by a language, group, individual, or work or in a field of knowledgeb : a list or collection of terms or codes available for use (as in an indexing system)
3 : a supply of expressive techniques or devices (as of an art form)
Examples of vocabulary in a Sentence
the basic vocabulary of English
She has learned a lot of new vocabulary.
He has a somewhat limited vocabulary.
Reading helped to expand her vocabulary.
the vocabulary of the art world
The Internet has given us a whole new vocabulary.
Recent Examples of vocabulary from the Web
The rhythmic frenzy, harmonic complexity and unabashed dissonance of this work built persuasively on Mingus' vocabularies.
The vocabulary of memory is playing a role in two current major news threads – the Washington story and the Confederate controversy.
Barring fantasy offers that couldn’t be refused, selling off now would be selling out and irresponsible — neither of which is in general manager Dayton Moore’s vocabulary.
The teachers played a major role as well by integrating vocabulary learning across the curriculum.
Perfect scores on the test are rare, and even two of the favorites, Siyona Mishra and Shourav Dasari, admitted to getting a few vocabulary words wrong.
Alia Almashni, native speaker of both Arabic and Spanish, will teach the basics of Spanish, including common phrases and vocabulary that travelers should learn, and basic use of verbs.
As neurologically healthy individuals age, measures of the complexity of their use of words and vocabulary remain stable or even increase until about the mid-70s.
Extrapolating from Doohan's sounds, Okrand invented a vocabulary and grammar and translated every line of dialog spoken by a Klingon in Star Trek III.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'vocabulary'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
The Vocabulary of vocabulary
For many people, the word vocabulary is primarily associated with the number of words that a person knows; one either has a large or a small vocabulary. But the word has many shades of meaning and is nicely representative of the nuanced and multi-hued nature of so much of the English lexicon.
Vocabulary may indeed refer to the collection of words known by an individual or by a large group of people. It may also signify the body of specialized terms in a field of study or activity (“the vocabulary of science”). It may designate a physical object, such as a book, in which a collection of (usually alphabetized) words is defined or explained. And it may name things other than words, such as “a list or collection of terms or codes available for use,” “a set or list of nonverbal symbols” (such as marine alphabet flag signals), and “a set of expressive forms used in an art” (as in “the vocabulary of dance”).
Origin and Etymology of vocabulary
Middle French vocabulaire, probably from Medieval Latin vocabularium, from neuter of vocabularius verbal, from Latin vocabulum
First Known Use: 1532See Words from the same year
VOCABULARY Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of vocabulary for English Language Learners
: the words that make up a language
: all of the words known and used by a person
: words that are related to a particular subject
VOCABULARY Defined for Kids
Definition of vocabulary for Students
1 : a list or collection of words and their meanings
2 : the words used in a language, by a group or individual, or in relation to a subject
Learn More about vocabulary
See words that rhyme with vocabulary Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for vocabulary Spanish Central: Translation of vocabulary Nglish: Translation of vocabulary for Spanish speakers Britannica English: Translation of vocabulary for Arabic speakers Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about vocabulary
Seen and Heard
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