Dialect definition

dīə-lĕkt
Frequency:
(linguistics) A variety of a language (specifically, often a spoken variety) that is characteristic of a particular area, community or group, often with relatively minor differences in vocabulary, style, spelling and pronunciation.
noun
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The sum total of local characteristics of speech.
noun
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The language peculiar to the members of a group, especially in an occupation; jargon.

The dialect of science.

noun
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A regional or social variety of a language distinguished by pronunciation, grammar, or vocabulary, especially a variety of speech differing from the standard literary language or speech pattern of the culture in which it exists.

Cockney is a dialect of English.

noun
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(popularly) Any form of speech considered as deviating from a real or imaginary standard speech.
noun
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The definition of a dialect is a variety of a language which has different pronunciation, grammar or vocabulary than the standard language of the culture.

An example of dialect is Cantonese to the Chinese language.

noun
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A regional or minority language.
noun
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A language considered as part of a larger family of languages or a linguistic branch. Not in scientific use.

Spanish and French are Romance dialects.

noun
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A variety of language that with other varieties constitutes a single language of which no single variety is standard.

The dialects of Ancient Greek.

noun
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A form or variety of a spoken language, including the standard form, peculiar to a region, community, social group, occupational group, etc.: in this sense, dialects are regarded as being, to some degree, mutually intelligible while languages are not mutually intelligible.
noun
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Of or in a dialect.

Dialect ballads.

adjective
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The manner or style of expressing oneself in language or the arts.
noun
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(rare) The sum total of an individual's characteristics of speech; idiolect.
noun
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A dialect of a language perceived as substandard and wrong.
noun
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Any language as a member of a group or family of languages.

English is a West Germanic dialect.

noun
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Other Word Forms

Noun

Singular:
dialect
Plural:
dialects

Origin of dialect

  • French dialecte from Old French from Latin dialectus form of speech from Greek dialektos speech from dialegesthai to discourse, use a dialect dia- between, over dia– legesthai middle voice of legein to speak leg- in Indo-European roots

    From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition

  • From Middle French dialecte, from Latin dialectos, dialectus, from Ancient Greek διάλεκτος (dialektos, “conversation, the language of a country or a place or a nation, the local idiom which derives from a dominant language”), from διαλέγομαι (dialegomai, “I participate in a dialogue”), from διά (dia, “inter, through”) + λέγω (legō, “I speak”).

    From Wiktionary