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lingua franca

[frang-kuh] /ˈfræŋ kə/
noun, plural lingua francas, linguae francae
[ling-gwee fran-see] /ˈlɪŋ gwi ˈfræn si/ (Show IPA)
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.
Origin of lingua franca
1670-80; < Italian: literally, Frankish tongue Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for lingua franca
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Wobanguli began speaking in sonorous tones, using Malay-Dyak dialect, the lingua franca of the residency.

    The Argus Pheasant John Charles Beecham
  • He speaks the language of Mota, the lingua franca here, you know.

    Life of John Coleridge Patteson Charlotte M. Yonge
  • The suspicion is also well founded that by Malauec is meant a lingua franca made up from various tongues.

  • Having said this, the Moor asked several questions—through the negro, and always in the lingua franca.

    The Middy and the Moors R.M. Ballantyne
  • The last word was spoken in the lingua franca, and instantly obeyed by the physician.

    The Talisman Sir Walter Scott
  • The homely idiomatic language in opposition to any mixed jargon, or lingua franca, spoken by an imported slave:—2.

  • Mungarly casa, a bakers shop; evidently a corruption of a lingua franca phrase for an eating-house.

    The Slang Dictionary John Camden Hotten
British Dictionary definitions for lingua franca

lingua franca

/ˈlɪŋɡwə ˈfræŋkə/
noun (pl) lingua francas, linguae francae (ˈlɪŋɡwiː ˈfrænsiː)
a language used for communication among people of different mother tongues
a hybrid language containing elements from several different languages used in this way
any system of communication providing mutual understanding
Word Origin
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 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for lingua franca

1620s, from Italian, literally "Frankish tongue." Originally a form of communication used in the Levant, a stripped-down Italian 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 (see Frank). Sometimes in 17c. English sources also known as Bastard Spanish.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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