Word of the Day : March 28, 2019


adjective PAH-lee-glaht


1 a : speaking or writing several languages : multilingual

b : composed of numerous linguistic groups 

2 : containing matter in several languages 

3 : composed of elements from different languages

4 : widely diverse (as in ethnic or cultural origins)

Did You Know?

You've probably run across the prefix poly- before—it comes from Greek and means "many" or "multi-." But what about -glot? That part of the word comes from the Greek term glōtta, meaning "language" or "tongue." (Glōtta is also the source of glottis, the word for the space between the vocal cords.) Polyglot itself entered English in the 17th century, both as an adjective and as a noun meaning "one who can write or speak several languages." You could call the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V a polyglot. He claimed that he addressed his horse only in German, he conversed with women in Italian and with men in French, but reserved Spanish for his talks with God.


With vacationers arriving from all over Europe and other parts of the world, merchants in the resort city must adjust to serving a polyglot clientele.

"Learning the basics of any language is a quick task. Programmes like Duolingo or Rosetta Stone can guide you through a few greetings and simple phrases at lightning speed. For a more personal experience, polyglot Timothy Doner recommends reading and watching material that you already have an interest in. 'If you like cooking, buy a cookbook in a foreign language; if you like soccer, try watching a foreign game,' he says." — Peter Rubinstein and Bryan Lufkin, BBC.com, 19 Feb. 2019

Word Family Quiz

What is the meaning of polyonymous?



More Words of the Day

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!