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Webster 1913 Edition


Language

Lan′guage

,
Noun.
[OE.
langage
, F.
langage
, fr. L.
lingua
the tongue, hence speech, language; akin to E.
tongue
. See
Tongue
, cf.
Lingual
.]
1.
Any means of conveying or communicating ideas;
specifically,
human speech; the expression of ideas by the voice; sounds, expressive of thought, articulated by the organs of the throat and mouth.
Language consists in the oral utterance of sounds which usage has made the representatives of ideas. When two or more persons customarily annex the same sounds to the same ideas, the expression of these sounds by one person communicates his ideas to another. This is the primary sense of language, the use of which is to communicate the thoughts of one person to another through the organs of hearing. Articulate sounds are represented to the eye by letters, marks, or characters, which form words.
2.
The expression of ideas by writing, or any other instrumentality.
3.
The forms of speech, or the methods of expressing ideas, peculiar to a particular nation.
4.
The characteristic mode of arranging words, peculiar to an individual speaker or writer; manner of expression; style.
Others for
language
all their care express.
Pope.
5.
The inarticulate sounds by which animals inferior to man express their feelings or their wants.
6.
The suggestion, by objects, actions, or conditions, of ideas associated therewith;
as, the
language
of flowers
.
There was . . .
language
in their very gesture.
Shakespeare
7.
The vocabulary and phraseology belonging to an art or department of knowledge;
as, medical
language
; the
language
of chemistry or theology.
8.
A race, as distinguished by its speech.
[R.]
All the people, the nations, and the
languages
, fell down and worshiped the golden image.
Dan. iii. 7.
Syn. – Speech; tongue; idiom; dialect; phraseology; diction; discourse; conversation; talk.
Language
,
Speech
,
Tongue
,
Idiom
,
Dialect
. Language is generic, denoting, in its most extended use, any mode of conveying ideas; speech is the language of articulate sounds; tongue is the Anglo-Saxon term for language, esp. for spoken language; as, the English tongue. Idiom denotes the forms of construction peculiar to a particular language; dialects are varieties of expression which spring up in different parts of a country among people speaking substantially the same language.

Lan′guage

,
Verb.
T.
[
imp. & p. p.
Languaged
;
p. pr. & vb. n.
Languaging
.]
To communicate by language; to express in language.
Others were
languaged
in such doubtful expressions that they have a double sense.
Fuller.

Webster 1828 Edition


Language

LAN'GUAGE

,
Noun.
[L. lingua, the tongue, and speech.]
1.
Human speech; the expression of ideas by words or significant articulate sounds, for the communication of thoughts. Language consists in the oral utterance of sounds, which usage has made the representatives of ideas. When two or more persons customarily annex the same sounds to the same ideas, the expression of these sounds by one person communicates his ideas to another. This is the primary sense of language, the use of which is to communicate the thoughts of one person to another through the organs of hearing. Articulate sounds are represented by letters, marks or characters which form words. Hence language consists also in
2.
Words duly arranged in sentences, written, printed or engraved, and exhibited to the eye.
3.
The speech or expression of ideas peculiar to a particular nation. Men had originally one and the same language, but the tribes or families of men, since their dispersion, have distinct languages.
4.
Style; manner of expression.
Others for language all their care express.
5.
The inarticulate sounds by which irrational animals express their feelings and wants. Each species of animals has peculiar sounds, which are uttered instinctively, and are understood by its own species, and its own species only.
6.
Any manner of expressing thoughts. Thus we speak of the language of the eye, a language very expressive and intelligible.
7.
A nation, as distinguished by their speech. Dan. 3.

Definition 2022


language

language

English

Noun

language (countable and uncountable, plural languages)

Examples

The English Wiktionary uses the English language to define words from all of the world's languages.


This person is saying "hello" in American sign 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.
    • 1900, William Beckford, The History of the Caliph Vathek, page 50:
      No language could express his rage and despair.
    • 2000, Geary Hobson, The Last of the Ofos (ISBN 0816519595), page 113:
      Mr. Darko, generally acknowledged to be the last surviving member of the Ofo Tribe, was also the last remaining speaker of the tribe's language.
  2. (uncountable) The ability to communicate using words.
    the gift of language
  3. (uncountable) The vocabulary and usage of a particular specialist field.
    legal language;   the language of chemistry
    • 1893, Walter Besant, The Ivory Gate, Prologue:
      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.
  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.
    • (Can we date this quote?) Cowper:
      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.
    • 1978, James Carroll, Mortal Friends, ISBN 0440157897, page 500:
      "Where the **** is Horace?" ¶ "There he is. He's coming. You shouldn't use language."
Synonyms
Hypernyms
Hyponyms
Derived terms
Related terms
Translations

Verb

language (third-person singular simple present languages, present participle languaging, simple past and past participle languaged)

  1. (rare, now nonstandard) To communicate by language; to express in language.
    • (Can we date this quote?) Fuller:
      Others were languaged in such doubtful expressions that they have a double sense.

See also

Etymology 2

Alteration of languet.

Noun

language (plural languages)

  1. A languet, a flat plate in or below the flue pipe of an organ.
    • 1896, William Horatio Clarke, The Organist's Retrospect, page 79:
      A flue-pipe is one in which the air passes through the throat, or flue, which is the narrow, longitudinal aperture between the lower lip and the tongue, or language. [] The language is adjusted by slightly elevating or depressing it, []

Statistics

Most common English words before 1923: states · wished · school · #750: language · court · British · meant

French

Noun

language m (plural languages)

  1. Archaic spelling of langage.

Middle French

Alternative forms

Etymology

From Old French language.

Noun

language m (plural languages)

  1. language (style of communicating)

Related terms

Descendants


Old French

Alternative forms

Etymology

From Vulgar Latin *linguāticum, from Classical Latin lingua (tongue, language).

Noun

language f (oblique plural languages, nominative singular language, nominative plural languages)

  1. language (style of communicating)

Related terms

Descendants