See also alphabet; books; english; grammar; language style; linguistics; literature; pronunciation; reading; rhetoric and rhetorical devices; speech; spelling; writing.
language typical of academies or the world of learning; pedantic language.
a word, phrase, or idiom peculiar to American English. Cf. Briticism, Canadianism.
the art or practice of making anagrams. Also called metagrammatism.
anything characteristic of the Anglo-Saxon race, especially any linguistic peculiarity that sterns from Old English and has not been affected by another language.
the loss of an initial unstressed vowel in a word, as squire
Also called apharesis, aphesis. — aphetic
of or relating to languages that have no grammatical inflections.
a word, phrase, idiom, or other characteristic of Aramaic occurring in a corpus written in another language.
a courtly phrase or expression. —aulic
the study of the Basque language and culture.
the ability to speak two languages.
the use of two languages, as in a community. Also bilinguality, diglottism. —bilingual, bilinguist
the state or quality of being composed of two letters, as a word. —biliteral
coarse, vulgar, violent, or abusive language. [Allusion to the scurrilous language used in Billingsgate market, London.]
a word, idiom, or phrase characteristic of or restricted to British English. Also called Britishism
. Cf. Americanism, Canadianism.
a word or phrase commonly used in Canadian rather than British or American English. Cf. Americanism, Briticism.
a word or phrase typical of Canadian French or English that is present in another language.
an instance of speech, behavior, customs, etc., typical of Canada.
a word, phrase, or idiom characteristic of Celtic languages in material written in another language.
a Celtic custom or usage.
an idiom or other linguistic feature peculiar to Chaldean, especially in material written in another language. —Chaldaic
, n., adj.
a word or phrase characteristic of Cilicia.
the use of euphemisms in order to avoid the use of plain words and any misfortune associated with them.
a word, phrase, or expression characteristic of ordinary or familiar conversation rather than formal speech or writing, as “She’s out” for “She is not at home.” —colloquial
a colloquial word or expression or one used in conversation more than in writing. Also conversationism.
a mania for foul speech.
the science or study of secret writing, especially code and cipher systems.
the procedures and methods of making and using secret languages, as codes or ciphers. —cryptographer, cryptographist
, n. —cryptographic, cryptographical, cryptographal
the study of, or the use of, methods and procedures for translating and interpreting codes and ciphers; cryptanalysis.
a word or expression characteristic of the Danish language.
of or relating to the common people; popular.
of, pertaining to, or noting the simplified form of hieratic writing used in ancient Egypt.
of, belonging to, or connected with modern colloquial Greek. Also called Romaic
a student of demotic language and writings.
an expression of scorn. — deristic
a dialect word or expression.
dialectal speech or influence.
a bilingual book or other work. —diglottic
the condition of having two syllables. —disyllable
, n. — disyllabic, disyllabical
the use of language that is characteristic of the Dorian Greeks.
a deliberate substitution of a disagreeable, offensive, or disparaging word for an otherwise inoffensive term, as pig
an instance of such substitution. Cf. euphemism.
a pithy statement, often containing a paradox.
the state or quality of being ambiguous in meaning or capable of double interpretation. —equivocal
a book of etymologies; any treatise on the derivation of words.
the branch of linguistics that studies the origin and history of words. —etymologist
. —etymologie, etymological
the deliberate or polite use of a pleasant or neutral word or expression to avoid the emotional implications of a plain term, as passed over
an instance of such use. Cf. dysphemism, genteelism
. —euphemistic, euphemistical, euphemious
the customs, languages, and traditions distinctive of Europeans.
a custom or language characteristic peculiar to foreigners.
French characterized by an interlarding of English loan words.
a French loanword in English, as tête-à-tête. Also called Gallicism.
a French linguistic peculiarity.
a French idiom or expression used in another language. Also called Frenchism.
the deliberate use of a word or phrase as a substitute for one thought to be less proper, if not coarse, as male cow
an instance of such substitution.
a German loanword in English, as gemütlich.
Also called Teutonism, Teutonicism.
the study of the origin of language. —glottogonic
the worship of letters or words.
a devotion to the letter, as in law or Scripture; literalism.
an expression or construction peculiar to Hebrew.
the character, spirit, principles, or customs of the Hebrew people.
a Hebrew loanword in English, as shekel. —Hebraist
. —Hebraistic, Hebraic
the state or quality of a given word’s having the same spelling as another word, but with a different sound or pronunciation and a different meaning, as lead
’guide’ and lead
’metal.’ Cf. homonymy
an unconscious tendency to use words other than those intended. Cf. malapropism.
an Irish characteristic.
an idiom peculiar to Irish English. Also called Hibernicism. — Hibernian
a Spanish word or expression that often appears in another language, as bodega.
the ability, in certain languages, to express a complex idea or entire sentence in a single word, as the imperative “Stop!” —holophrasm
the state or quality of a given word’s having the same spelling and the same sound or pronunciation as another word, but with a different meaning, as race
’tribe’ and race
’running contest.’ Cf. heteronymy. —homonym
a word formed from elements drawn from different languages.
the practice of coining such words.
a compilation of idiomatic words and phrases.
the advocacy of using the artificial language Ido, based upon Esperanto. — Ido, Idoist, n
. — Idoistic, adj.
the tendency in some individuals to refer to themselves in the third person. — illeist
an artificial international language, based upon the Romance languages, designed for use by the scientific community.
excessive use of the sound i
and the substituting of this sound for other vowels. —iotacist
a word or phrase commonly used in Ireland rather than England or America, as begorra.
a mode of speech, idiom, or custom characteristic of the Irish. Also Iricism.
the numerical equality between words or lines of verse according to the ancient Greek notation, in which each letter receives a corresponding number. —isopsephic
an Italian loanword in English, as chiaroscuro.
an Italian loanword in English, as chiaroscuro.
Italianism. See also printing
a style of art, idiom, custom, mannerism, etc., typical of the Japanese.
a person who makes use of a jargon in his speech.
a word or expression whose root is the Kentish dialect.
a mode of expression imitative of Latin.
a Latin word, phrase, or expression that of ten appears in another lan-guage. —Latinize
a particular way of speaking or writing Latin.
the use or knowledge of Latin.
the writing or compiling of dictionaries. —lexicographer
, n. —lexicographic, lexicographical
a person skilled in the science of language. Also linguistician.
a person skilled in many languages; a polyglot.
a custom or manner of speaking peculiar to one locality. Also called provincialism
, n. —localistic
a system in which ruling power is vested in words.
a cunning with words; verbal legerdemain. Also logodaedalus.
veneration or excessive regard for words. —logolatrous
a dispute about or concerning words.
a contention marked by the careless or incorrect use of words; a mean-ingless battle of words. —logomach, logomacher, logomachist
, n. —logo- machic, logomachical
a form of divination involving the observation of words and discourse.
a mania for words or talking.
a lover of words. Also called philologue, philologer.
an abnormal fear or dislike of words.
an excessive or abnormal, sometimes incoherent talkativeness. —logorrheic
the unconscious use of an inappropriate word, especially in a cliché, as fender
in “You could have knocked me over with a fender.” [Named after Mrs. Malaprop, a character prone to such uses, in The Rivals,
by Richard Brinsley Sheridan]
an instance of such misuse. Cf. heterophemism.
a word or expression that comes from the language of the Medes.
a member of an order of Armenian monks, founded in 1715 by Mekhitar da Pietro, dedicated to literary work, espeeially the perfecting of the Armenian language and the translation into it of the major works of other languages.
the practice of making a literal translation from one language into another. Cf. paraphrasis. —metaphrast
. —metaphrastic, metaphrastical
a person capable of speaking only one language.
the condition of having only one syllable. — monosyllable
, n. —monosyllabic
speaking foolishly. —morologist
excessive use of or fondness for, or incorrect use of the letter m
and the sound it represents. Also mutacism.
a new word, usage, or phrase.
the coining or introduction of new words or new senses for established words. See also theology
. —neologian, neologist
. —neologistic, neologistical
the use of neologisms. —neoterist
a word or phrase characteristic of those who reside in New York City.
a euphemism. See also attitudes
a word or expression characteristic of a northern dialect.
the science of defining technical terms. —orismologic, orismological
the art of correct grammar and correct use of words. —orthologer, orthologian
the ability to speak any language. —pantoglot
the addition of a sound or group of sounds at the end of a word, as in the nonstandard idear
Also called epithesis. —paragogic, paragogical
the recasting of an idea in words different from that originally used, whether in the same language or in a translation. Cf. metaphrasis, periphrasis. —paraphrastic, paraphrastical
word formation by the addition of both a prefix and a suffix to a stem or word, as international.
word formation by the addition of a suffix to a phrase or compound word, as nickel-and-diming. —parasynthetic
the use of equivocal or ambiguous terms. —parisological
the collecting and study of proverbs. Cf. proverbialism. —paroe-miologist
. — paroemiologic, paroemiological
an artificial international language using signs and figures instead of words.
any artificial language, as Esperanto. —pasigraphic
a semantic change in a word to a lower, less respect-able meaning, as in hussy
. Also pejoration.
a book or other work written in five languages. —pentaglot
a roundabout way of speaking or writing; circumlocution.
an expression in such fashion. Cf. paraphrasis
an idiom or the idiomatic aspect of a language.
a mode of expression.
a phrasebook. —phraseologist
. —phraseologic, phraseological
an addiction to spoken or written expression in platitudes.
a staleness or dullness of both language and ideas. Also called platitudinism. —platitudinarian
the use of unnecessary words to express an idea; redundancy.
an instance of this, as true fact.
a redundant word or expression. —pleonastic
a specialist in Polish language, literature, and culture.
a person who speaks several languages.
a mixture of languages. See also books
, n., adj. —polyglottic, polyglottous
the ability to use or to speak several languages. —polyglot
, n., adj.
a diversity of meanings for a given word.
the condition of having three or more syllables. —polysyllable
. —polysyllabic, polysyllabical
the creation or use of portmanteau words, or words that are a blend of two other words, as smog
excessive fastidiousness or over-refinement in language or behavior.
excessive wordiness in speech or writing; longwindedness. —prolix, adj.
a phrase typical of the Biblical prophets.
the composing, collecting, or customary use of proverbs. Cf. paroemiology.
a love of vacuous or trivial talk.
obfuscating language and jargon as used by psychologists, psychoanalysts, and psychiatrists, characterized by recondite phrases and arcane names for common conditions.
the policy or attempt to purify language and to make it conform to the rigors of pronunciation, usage, grammar, etc. that have been arbitrarily set forth by a certain group. Also called prescriptivism
. See also art
. —purist, n.,adj.
coarse, vulgar, or obscene language or joking. —ribald, adj.
something characteristic of or influenced by Russia, its people, customs, language, etc.
a rustic habit or mode of expression. —rustic
a word, idiom, phrase, etc., of Anglo-Saxon or supposed Anglo-Saxon origin.
a feature characteristic of Scottish English or a word or phrase commonly used in Scotland rather than in England or America, as bonny.
. the study of meaning.
. the study of linguistic development by classifying and examining changes in meaning and form. —semanticist, semantician
a word, phrase, or idiom from a Semitic language, especially in the context of another language.
the study of Semitic languages and culture. —Semitist, Semiticist
the practice of using very long words. Also sesquipedalism
. —sesquipedal, sesquipedalian
a slangy expression or word.
a Slavic loanword in English, as blini.
one who specializes in the study of Slavic languages, literatures, or other aspects of Slavic culture. Also Slavist
the transposition of initial or other sounds of words, usually by accident, as “queer dean” for “dear Queen.” [After the Rev. W. A. Spooner, 1844-1930, noted for such slips.] —spoonerize
the use of a secret language or code; cryptography. —steganographer
the study of the language, history, and archaeology of the Sumerians. —Sumerologist
. a table of syllables, as might be used for teaching a language.
. a system of characters or symbols representing syllables instead of individual sounds. Also syllabarium
a word that cannot be used as a term in its own right in logic, as an adverb or preposition. —syncategorematic
an expression whose origin is Syriac, a language based on the eastern Aramaic dialect.
needless repetition of a concept in word or phrase; redundancy or pleonasm. Also tautologism
. the classification of terms associated with a particular field; nomenclature.
. the terms of any branch of knowledge, field of activity, etc. —terminologic, terminological
. anything typical or characteristic of the Teutons or Germans, as customs, attitudes, actions, etc.
. Germanism. —Teutonic
a word, phrase, or idiom in English that is common to both Great Britain and the United States.
a trite, commonplace or hackneyed saying, expression, etc.; a platitude.
. the use of the second person, as in apostrophe.
. in certain languages, the use of the familiar second person in cases where the formal third person is usually found and expected.
. an instance of such use.
the state or quality of having only one meaning or of being unmistakable in meaning, as a word or statement. —univocal
. a verbal expression, as a word or phrase.
. the way in which something is worded.
. a phrase or sentence devoid or almost devoid of meaning.
. a use of words regarded as obscuring ideas or reality; verbiage.
wordiness or prolixity; an excess of words.
misuse or overuse of a word or any use of a word which is damaging to it.
meaningless repetition of words and phrases.
an excessive use of or attraction to words.
the quality or condition of wordiness; excessive use of words, especially unnecessary prolixity. —verbose
. a word, phrase, or idiom from the native and popular language, contrasted with literary or learned language.
. the use of the vernacular. —vernacular
, n., adj.
a word or phrase characteristic of a village or rural community.
a speaker or advocate of Volapük, a language proposed for use as an international language.
a word or phrase used chiefly in coarse, colloquial speech. —vulgarian, vulgarist
the habit of referring to oneself by the pronoun “we.”
a word or form of pronunciation distinctive of the western United States.
a remark or expression characterized by cleverness in perception and choice of words.
the art or technique of employing a vocabulary of arcane, recondite words in order to gain an advantage over another person.
. a Yankee characteristic or character.
a linguistic or cultural trait peculiar to the United States.
. Southern U.S.
a linguistic or cultural trait peculiar to the states siding with the Union during the Civil War.
. Northern U.S.
a linguistic or cultural trait peculiar to the New England states.
a Yiddish loanword in English, as chutzpa.
the language and customs of people living in the county of Yorkshire, England.