Linguistics. a variety of a language that is distinguished from other varieties of the same language by features of phonology, grammar, and vocabulary, and by its use by a group of speakers who are set off from others geographically or socially.
a provincial, rural, or socially distinct variety of a language that differs from the standard language, especially when considered as substandard.
a special variety of a language: The literary dialect is usually taken as the standard language.
a language considered as one of a group that have a common ancestor: Persian, Latin, and English are Indo-European dialects.
jargon or cant.

1545–55; < Latin dialectus < Greek diálektos discourse, language, dialect, equivalent to dialég(esthai) to converse (dia- dia- + légein to speak) + -tos verbal adjective suffix

subdialect, noun

2. idiom, patois. See language.
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
dialect (ˈdaɪəˌlɛkt)
a.  a form of a language spoken in a particular geographical area or by members of a particular social class or occupational group, distinguished by its vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation
 b.  a form of a language that is considered inferior: the farmer spoke dialect and was despised by the merchants
 c.  (as modifier): a dialect word
[C16: from Latin dialectus, from Greek dialektos speech, dialect, discourse, from dialegesthai to converse, from legein to talk, speak]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Word Origin & History

1577, from M.Fr. dialecte, from L. dialectus "local language, way of speaking, conversation," from Gk. dialektos, from dialegesthai "converse with each other," from dia- "across, between" + legein "speak" (see lecture).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
Calling a tongue a dialect implies that it is derived from and subordinated to
  a more formal language.
As students will notice at once, dialect and local color play no clear part in
  the humor of this story.
Some say that the distinction is one of mutual intelligibility: dialects are
  mutually understandable, languages are not.
Harris's stories are told in the Gullah dialect, often thought difficult by
  modern readers.
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