follow Dictionary.com

Submit your word to be a Word of the Day!

grammar

[gram-er] /ˈgræm ər/
noun
1.
the study of the way the sentences of a language are constructed; morphology and syntax.
2.
these features or constructions themselves:
English grammar.
3.
an account of these features; a set of rules accounting for these constructions:
a grammar of English.
4.
Generative Grammar. a device, as a body of rules, whose output is all of the sentences that are permissible in a given language, while excluding all those that are not permissible.
6.
knowledge or usage of the preferred or prescribed forms in speaking or writing:
She said his grammar was terrible.
7.
the elements of any science, art, or subject.
8.
a book treating such elements.
Origin
1325-1375
1325-75; Middle English gramery < Old French gramaire < Latin gramatica < Greek grammatikḕ (téchnē) grammatical (art); see -ar2
Related forms
grammarless, adjective
Can be confused
grammar, grandma, grandmother.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source
Examples from the web for grammar
  • We need to know the vocabulary, grammar, and syntax of our language.
  • Humans are the only animals with true language, including grammar and syntax.
  • Also weird is that while borrowing from one language to another is common, borrowing grammar is not nearly as common.
  • Moreover, the grammar of language is fundamentally a way of fitting those dictionary words into a larger context.
  • If you can understand what he is saying, then ignore the grammar.
  • Aren't some rules of grammar or usage being broken here? .
  • Please learn to use grammar.
  • Comments have been edited for clarity and grammar.
  • It's odd that I rarely see a posting that criticizes spelling or grammar without containing a spelling or grammar error.
  • Law and order defies the rules of grammar and is singular.
British Dictionary definitions for grammar

grammar

/ˈɡræmə/
noun
1.
the branch of linguistics that deals with syntax and morphology, sometimes also phonology and semantics
2.
the abstract system of rules in terms of which a person's mastery of his native language can be explained
3.
a systematic description of the grammatical facts of a language
4.
a book containing an account of the grammatical facts of a language or recommendations as to rules for the proper use of a language
5.
  1. the use of language with regard to its correctness or social propriety, esp in syntax: the teacher told him to watch his grammar
  2. (as modifier): a grammar book
6.
the elementary principles of a science or art: the grammar of drawing
Derived Forms
grammarless, adjective
Word Origin
C14: from Old French gramaire, from Latin grammatica, from Greek grammatikē (tekhnē) the grammatical (art), from grammatikos concerning letters, from gramma letter
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
Word Origin and History for grammar
n.

early 14c., gramarye (late 12c. in surnames), from Old French gramaire "learning," especially Latin and philology, "grammar, (magic) incantation, spells, mumbo-jumbo," "irregular semi-popular adoption" [OED] of Latin grammatica, from Greek grammatike tekhne "art of letters," with a sense of both philology and literature in the broadest sense, fem. adjective from gramma "letter," from stem of graphein "to draw or write" (see -graphy). An Old English word for it was stæfcræft.

Form grammar is from late 14c. Restriction to "rules of language" is a post-classical development, but as this type of study was until 16c. limited to Latin, Middle English gramarye also came to mean "learning in general, knowledge peculiar to the learned classes" (early 14c.), which included astrology and magic; hence the secondary meaning of "occult knowledge" (late 15c.), which evolved in Scottish into glamor (q.v.).

A grammar school (late 14c.) originally was "a school in which the learned languages are grammatically taught" [Johnson, who also has grammaticaster "a mean verbal pedant"]. In U.S. (1842) the term was put to use in the graded system for "a school between primary and secondary where English grammar is taught."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
grammar in Culture

grammar definition


The rules for standard use of words. A grammar is also a system for classifying and analyzing the elements of language.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
Cite This Source
grammar in Technology
language
A formal definition of the syntactic structure (the syntax) of a language.
A grammar is normally represented as a set of production rules which specify the order of constituents and their sub-constituents in a sentence (a well-formed string in the language). Each rule has a left-hand side symbol naming a syntactic category (e.g. "noun-phrase" for a natural language grammar) and a right-hand side which is a sequence of zero or more symbols. Each symbol may be either a terminal symbol or a non-terminal symbol. A terminal symbol corresponds to one "lexeme" - a part of the sentence with no internal syntactic structure (e.g. an identifier or an operator in a computer language). A non-terminal symbol is the left-hand side of some rule.
One rule is normally designated as the top-level rule which gives the structure for a whole sentence.
A parser (a kind of recogniser) uses a grammar to parse a sentence, assigning a terminal syntactic category to each input token and a non-terminal category to each appropriate group of tokens, up to the level of the whole sentence. Parsing is usually preceded by lexical analysis. The opposite, generation, starts from the top-level rule and chooses one alternative production wherever there is a choice.
In computing, a formal grammar, e.g. in BNF, can be used to parse a linear input stream, such as the source code of a program, into a data structure that expresses the (or a) meaning of the input in a form that is easier for the computer to work with. A compiler compiler like yacc might be used to convert a grammar into code for the parser of a compiler. A grammar might also be used by a transducer, a translator or a syntax directed editor.
See also attribute grammar.
(2009-02-06)
The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010 http://foldoc.org
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for grammar

Most English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for grammar

12
15
Scrabble Words With Friends

Quotes with grammar

Nearby words for grammar