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[voh-kab-yuh-ler-ee] /voʊˈkæb yəˌlɛr i/
noun, plural vocabularies.
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.
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.
the words of a language.
any collection of signs or symbols constituting a means or system of nonverbal communication:
vocabulary of a computer.
any more or less specific group of forms characteristic of an artist, a style of art, architecture, or the like.
Origin of vocabulary
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 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for vocabulary
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • So far as vocabulary is concerned, there is really little of it.

    Our Southern Highlanders Horace Kephart
  • Boss, that friend of yours has a vocabulary that'd turn a mule into a race horse.

    Still Jim Honor Willsie Morrow
  • He hesitated while he groped in his vocabulary and framed a complete answer.

    The Sea-Wolf Jack London
  • The word is not in the vocabulary of the American politician.

    Still Jim Honor Willsie Morrow
  • Middle English generally copies French, and is generally unpretentious in its vocabulary.

    Medieval English Literature William Paton Ker
British Dictionary definitions for vocabulary


noun (pl) -laries
a listing, either selective or exhaustive, containing the words and phrases of a language, with meanings or translations into another language; glossary
the aggregate of words in the use or comprehension of a specified person, class, profession, etc
all the words contained in a language
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
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Word Origin and History for vocabulary

1530s, "list of words with explanations," from Medieval Latin vocabularium "a list of words," from Latin vocabulum "word, name, noun," from vocare "to name, call" (see voice (n.)). Meaning "range of language of a person or group" is first attested 1753.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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