dialect [dī′ə lekt΄]
[L dialectus < Gr dialektos, discourse, discussion, dialect < dialegesthai, to discourse, talk < dia, between (see DIA-) + legein, to choose, talk (see LOGIC)]
1. the sum total of local characteristics of speech
2. Rare the sum total of an individual's characteristics of speech; idiolect
3. popularly any form of speech considered as deviating from a real or imaginary standard speech
4. Linguis.
a) a form or variety of a spoken language, including the standard form, peculiar to a region, community, social group, occupational group, etc.: in this sense, dialects are regarded as being, to some degree, mutually intelligible while languages are not mutually intelligible
b) any language as a member of a group or family of languages [English is a West Germanic dialect]
of or in a dialect [dialect ballads]
SYN.- DIALECT, in this comparison, refers to a form of a language peculiar to a locality or group and differing from the standard language in matters of pronunciation, syntax, etc.; VERNACULAR today commonly refers to the informal or colloquial variety of a language as distinguished from the formal or literary variety; CANT1, in this connection, refers to the distinctive stock words and phrases used by a particular sect, class, etc. [clergymen's cant]; JARGON1 is used of the special vocabulary and idioms of a particular class, occupational group, etc., esp. by one who is unfamiliar with these; ARGOT refers esp. to the secret jargon of thieves and tramps; LINGO is a humorous or mildly contemptuous term applied to any language, dialect, or jargon by one to whom it is unintelligible

English World dictionary. . 2014.

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