lingua franca

noun, plural lingua francas, linguae francae [ling-gwee fran-see] .
any language that is widely used as a means of communication among speakers of other languages.
(initial capital letter) the Italian-Provençal jargon (with elements of Spanish, French, Greek, Arabic, and Turkish) formerly widely used in eastern Mediterranean ports.

1670–80; < Italian: literally, Frankish tongue Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
lingua franca (ˈlɪŋɡwə ˈfræŋkə)
n , pl lingua francas, linguae francae
1.  a language used for communication among people of different mother tongues
2.  a hybrid language containing elements from several different languages used in this way
3.  any system of communication providing mutual understanding
[C17: Italian, literally: Frankish tongue]

Lingua Franca
a particular lingua franca spoken from the time of the Crusades to the 18th century in the ports of the Mediterranean, based on Italian, Spanish, French, Arabic, Greek, and Turkish

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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Word Origin & History

lingua franca
1678, from It., lit. "Frankish tongue." Originally a form of communication used in the Levant, a stripped-down It. peppered with Spanish, French, Greek, Arabic, and Turkish words. The name is probably from the Arabic custom, dating back to the Crusades, of calling all Europeans Franks.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
But researchers have recently found that clicks are far more prevalent in the world's lingua franca than had been thought.
It isn't music or movies or pizza that is the lingua franca of the globe.
It is also, however, exposing a long-term shortage of local university graduates fluent in the world's lingua franca.
Memoirs about language-learning reflect the fear of a world flattened by the new lingua franca.
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