American English

Definition of language noun from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



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    of a country
  1. 1[countable] the system of communication in speech and writing that is used by people of a particular country or area the Japanese language It takes a long time to learn to speak a language well. Italian is my first language. All the students are required to learn a foreign language. She has a good command of theSpanish language. English is her second language. They fell in love in spite of the language barrier (= the difficulty of communicating when people speak different languages). Why study Latin? It's a dead language (= no longer spoken by anyone). Is English an official language in your country? see also modern language
  2. communication
  3. 2[uncountable] the use by humans of a system of sounds and words to communicate theories about the origins of language a study of language acquisition in two-year-olds
  4. style of speaking/writing
  5. 3[uncountable] a particular style of speaking or writing bad/foul/strong language (= words that people may consider offensive) literary/poetic language the language of the legal profession Give your instructions in everyday language. see also bad language
  6. movements/symbols/sound
  7. 4[countable, uncountable] a way of expressing ideas and feelings using movements, symbols, and sound the language of mime the language of dolphins/bees see also body language, sign language
  8. computing
  9. 5[countable, uncountable] a system of symbols and rules that is used to operate a computer a programming language
  10. Thesauruslanguagevocabulary terms wording terminologyThese are all terms for the words and expressions people use when they speak or write, or for a particular style of speaking or writing.language a particular style of speaking or writing:Give your instructions in everyday language. the language of the legal professionvocabulary all the words that a person knows or uses, or all the words in a particular language; the words that people use when they are talking about a particular subject:to have a large/wide/limited vocabulary The word has become part of everyday vocabulary.terms a way of expressing yourself or of saying something:I'll try to explain in simple terms.wording [usually sing.] the words that are used in a piece of writing or a speech, especially when they have been carefully chosen:It was the standard form of wording for a wedding invitation.terminology (somewhat formal) the set of technical words or expressions used in a particular subject; words used with particular meanings:medical terminology Scientists are constantly developing new terminologies. Literary/poetic terminology is used for talking about literature or poetry. Literary/poetic language is used for writing in a literary or poetic style.Patterns formal/informal/simple/everyday language/vocabulary/terms business/scientific/technical/specialized language/vocabulary/terminology A word enters the language/the vocabulary.Idioms
    speak/talk the same language
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    to be able to communicate easily with another person because you share similar opinions and experience
    watch your language/mouth/tongue
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    to be careful what you say in order not to offend someone or make them angry Watch your language, young man!
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: language