language

[lang-gwij]
noun
1.
a body of words and the systems for their use common to a people who are of the same community or nation, the same geographical area, or the same cultural tradition: the two languages of Belgium; a Bantu language; the French language; the Yiddish language.
2.
communication by voice in the distinctively human manner, using arbitrary sounds in conventional ways with conventional meanings; speech.
3.
the system of linguistic signs or symbols considered in the abstract (opposed to speech ).
4.
any set or system of such symbols as used in a more or less uniform fashion by a number of people, who are thus enabled to communicate intelligibly with one another.
5.
any system of formalized symbols, signs, sounds, gestures, or the like used or conceived as a means of communicating thought, emotion, etc.: the language of mathematics; sign language.
6.
the means of communication used by animals: the language of birds.
7.
communication of meaning in any way; medium that is expressive, significant, etc.: the language of flowers; the language of art.
8.
linguistics; the study of language.
9.
the speech or phraseology peculiar to a class, profession, etc.; lexis; jargon.
10.
a particular manner of verbal expression: flowery language.
11.
choice of words or style of writing; diction: the language of poetry.
12.
Computers. a set of characters and symbols and syntactic rules for their combination and use, by means of which a computer can be given directions: The language of many commercial application programs is COBOL.
13.
a nation or people considered in terms of their speech.
14.
Archaic. faculty or power of speech.

Origin:
1250–1300; Middle English < Anglo-French, variant spelling of langage, derivative of langue tongue. See lingua, -age

prelanguage, adjective


2. See speech. 4, 9. tongue; terminology; lingo, lingua franca. Language, dialect, jargon, vernacular refer to patterns of vocabulary, syntax, and usage characteristic of communities of various sizes and types. Language is applied to the general pattern of a people or race: the English language. Dialect is applied to certain forms or varieties of a language, often those that provincial communities or special groups retain (or develop) even after a standard has been established: Scottish dialect. A jargon is either an artificial pattern used by a particular (usually occupational) group within a community or a special pattern created for communication in business or trade between members of the groups speaking different languages: the jargon of the theater; the Chinook jargon. A vernacular is the authentic natural pattern of speech, now usually on the informal level, used by persons indigenous to a certain community, large or small.
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Collins
World English Dictionary
language (ˈlæŋɡwɪdʒ)
 
n
1.  a system for the expression of thoughts, feelings, etc, by the use of spoken sounds or conventional symbols
2.  the faculty for the use of such systems, which is a distinguishing characteristic of man as compared with other animals
3.  the language of a particular nation or people: the French language
4.  any other systematic or nonsystematic means of communicating, such as gesture or animal sounds: the language of love
5.  the specialized vocabulary used by a particular group: medical language
6.  a particular manner or style of verbal expression: your language is disgusting
7.  computing See programming language
8.  speak the same language to communicate with understanding because of common background, values, etc
 
[C13: from Old French langage, ultimately from Latin lingua tongue]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

language
late 13c., from O.Fr. langage (12c.), from V.L. *linguaticum, from L. lingua "tongue," also "speech, language" (see lingual).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
language  [%PREMIUM_LINK%]     (lāng'gwĭj)  Pronunciation Key 
  1. A system of objects or symbols, such as sounds or character sequences, that can be combined in various ways following a set of rules, especially to communicate thoughts, feelings, or instructions. See also machine language, programming language.

  2. The set of patterns or structures produced by such a system.


The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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FOLDOC
Computing Dictionary

language definition


1. programming language.
2. natural language.
(1998-09-07)

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010 http://foldoc.org
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Example sentences
Language changes not from talking about words but from using them.
If you get tongue-tied when trying to learn a new language, your genes may be
  to blame, a new study suggests.
The morbidity is not of human feeling but of language.
The new language made programming, for the first time, more about the end than
  the means.
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