language
Pronunciation
  • enPR: lăngʹgwĭj, IPA: /ˈlæŋɡwɪd͡ʒ/
    • (GA, CA) IPA: [ˈleɪŋɡwɪd͡ʒ]

Noun

language

  1. (countable) A body of words, and set of methods of combining them (called a grammar), understood by a community and used as a form of communication.
    The English language and the German language are related.
    Deaf and mute people communicate using languages like ASL.
    • 1867, Report on the Systems of Deaf-Mute Instruction pursued in Europe, quoted in 1983 in History of the College for the Deaf, 1857-1907 ISBN 0913580856, page 240:
      Hence the natural language of the mute is, in schools of this class, suppressed as soon and as far as possible, and its existence as a language, capable of being made the reliable and precise vehicle for the widest range of thought, is ignored.
  2. (uncountable) The ability to communicate using words.
    the gift of language
  3. (uncountable) A sublanguage: the slang of a particular community or jargon of a particular specialist field.
    • 1892, Walter Besant, “Prologue: Who is Edmund Gray?”, in The Ivory Gate: A Novel, New York, N.Y.: Harper & Brothers, […], OCLC 16832619 ↗:
      Thus, when he drew up instructions in lawyer language, he expressed the important words by an initial, a medial, or a final consonant, and made scratches for all the words between; his clerks, however, understood him very well.
    • 1991, Stephen Fry, The Liar, p. 35:
      And ‘blubbing’... Blubbing went out with ‘decent’ and ‘ripping’. Mind you, not a bad new language to start up. Nineteen-twenties schoolboy slang could be due for a revival.
    legal language;   the language of chemistry
  4. (countable, uncountable) The expression of thought (the communication of meaning) in a specified way.
    body language;   the language of the eyes
    • 2001, Eugene C. Kennedy, Sara C. Charles, On Becoming a Counselor ISBN 0824519132:
      A tale about themselves [is] told by people with help from the universal languages of their eyes, their hands, and even their shirting feet.
  5. (countable, uncountable) A body of sounds, signs and/or signals by which animals communicate, and by which plants are sometimes also thought to communicate.
    • 1983, The Listener, volume 110, page 14:
      A more likely hypothesis was that the attacked leaves were transmitting some airborne chemical signal to sound the alarm, rather like insects sending out warnings […] But this is the first time that a plant-to-plant language has been detected.
    • 2009, Animals in Translation, page 274:
      Prairie dogs use their language to refer to real dangers in the real world, so it definitely has meaning.
  6. (computing, countable) A computer language; a machine language.
    • 2015, Kent D. Lee, Foundations of Programming Languages ISBN 3319133144, page 94
      In fact pointers are called references in these languages to distinguish them from pointers in languages like C and C++.
  7. (uncountable) Manner of expression.
    • Their language simple, as their manners meek, […]
  8. (uncountable) The particular words used in a speech or a passage of text.
    The language used in the law does not permit any other interpretation.
    The language he used to talk to me was obscene.
  9. (uncountable) Profanity.
Synonyms
Verb

language (languages, present participle languaging; past and past participle languaged)

  1. (rare, now, nonstandard or technical) To communicate by language; to express in language.
    • Others were languaged in such doubtful expressions that they have a double sense.

Noun

language (plural languages)

  1. A languet, a flat plate in or below the flue pipe of an organ.



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