follow Dictionary.com

Get the details behind our redesign

vocabulary

[voh-kab-yuh-ler-ee] /voʊˈkæb yəˌlɛr i/
noun, plural vocabularies.
1.
the stock of words used by or known to a particular people or group of persons:
His French vocabulary is rather limited. The scientific vocabulary is constantly growing.
2.
a list or collection of the words or phrases of a language, technical field, etc., usually arranged in alphabetical order and defined:
Study the vocabulary in the fourth chapter.
3.
the words of a language.
4.
any collection of signs or symbols constituting a means or system of nonverbal communication:
vocabulary of a computer.
5.
any more or less specific group of forms characteristic of an artist, a style of art, architecture, or the like.
Origin
1525-1535
1525-35; < Medieval Latin vocābulārium, noun use of neuter of vocābulārius of words, equivalent to Latin vocābul(um) vocable + -ārius -ary
Related forms
vocabularied, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source
Examples for vocabulary
  • When you're learning a foreign language, it's helpful to have frequent vocabulary reminders for words you have learned.
  • His charm, however, and his sizable vocabulary inspired people to help him.
  • Use either set when trying to learn a foreign language, to help learn new vocabulary words.
  • vocabulary, for instance-older people know more words and understand subtle linguistic distinctions.
  • Suddenly people are describing the city with a word that, until recently, wasn't even in the local vocabulary: trendy.
  • We need to know the vocabulary, grammar, and syntax of our language.
  • To learn a foreign language, it is vital to constantly add to your vocabulary.
  • People who learn new vocabulary quickly show more activity in the hippocampus.
  • Apparently our vocabulary lacks sufficient breadth of ways to describe people who are exceptionally good citizens.
  • No language has a ready-made vocabulary for the needs of mental activity.
British Dictionary definitions for vocabulary

vocabulary

/vəˈkæbjʊlərɪ/
noun (pl) -laries
1.
a listing, either selective or exhaustive, containing the words and phrases of a language, with meanings or translations into another language; glossary
2.
the aggregate of words in the use or comprehension of a specified person, class, profession, etc
3.
all the words contained in a language
4.
a range or system of symbols, qualities, or techniques constituting a means of communication or expression, as any of the arts or crafts a wide vocabulary of textures and colours
Word Origin
C16: from Medieval Latin vocābulārium, from vocābulārius concerning words, from Latin vocābulumvocable
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 vocabulary
vocabulary
1532, "list of words with explanations," from M.L. vocabularium "a list of words," from L. vocabulum "word, name, noun," from vocare "to name, call" (see voice). Meaning "range of language of a person or group" is first attested 1753.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of The Day

Difficulty index for vocabulary

Many English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for vocabulary

20
24
Scrabble Words With Friends

Quotes with vocabulary