9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[kuh-loh-kwee-uh l] /kəˈloʊ kwi əl/
characteristic of or appropriate to ordinary or familiar conversation rather than formal speech or writing; informal.
involving or using conversation.
Origin of colloquial
1745-55; colloquy + -al1
Related forms
colloquially, adverb
colloquialness, colloquiality, noun
quasi-colloquial, adjective
quasi-colloquially, adverb
semicolloquial, adjective
semicolloquially, adverb
uncolloquial, adjective
uncolloquially, adverb
1, 2. Colloquial, conversational, informal refer to types of speech or to usages not on a formal level. Colloquial is often mistakenly used with a connotation of disapproval, as if it meant “vulgar” or “bad” or “incorrect” usage, whereas it is merely a familiar style used in speaking and writing. Conversational refers to a style used in the oral exchange of ideas, opinions, etc.: an easy conversational style. Informal means without formality, without strict attention to set forms, unceremonious: an informal manner of speaking; it describes the ordinary, everyday language of cultivated speakers.
1. formal. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
Cite This Source
Examples from the web for colloquial
  • Common names are also provided for standardized formats, when the formal name excludes colloquial elements.
  • Perhaps my more colloquial understanding of random is different from the mathematical meaning.
  • Flutter sounds colloquial and innocuous, but it can be deadly.
  • Yet he was plain and colloquial in speech, not full of profound pronunciamentos about life.
  • There is no colloquial designation that guarantees quality.
  • The poems selected are mostly written in a natural, colloquial style and should be read that way.
  • In colloquial use, burning is also accompanied by a high amount of heat being released and flames.
  • Direct the translators to produce colloquial questions and instructions that survey respondents can easily understand and use.
  • For formats established by corporations, the common or colloquial full name is provided.
  • White lightning is a colloquial term for thunderstorms occurring with snow.
British Dictionary definitions for colloquial


of or relating to conversation
denoting or characterized by informal or conversational idiom or vocabulary Compare informal
Derived Forms
colloquially, adverb
colloquialness, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Contemporary definitions for colloquial

pertaining to words or expressions more suitable for speech than writing; in informal, conversational style


colloquial language or speech

Word Origin

Latin colloquium 'speaking together''s 21st Century Lexicon
Copyright © 2003-2014, LLC
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for colloquial

1751, from colloquy "a conversation" + -al (1). Related: Colloquially.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for colloquial

Few English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for colloquial

Scrabble Words With Friends

Quotes with colloquial

Nearby words for colloquial