Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A regional or social variety of a language distinguished by pronunciation, grammar, or vocabulary, especially a variety of speech differing from the standard literary language or speech pattern of the culture in which it exists: Cockney is a dialect of English.
  • n. A variety of language that with other varieties constitutes a single language of which no single variety is standard: the dialects of Ancient Greek.
  • n. The language peculiar to the members of a group, especially in an occupation; jargon: the dialect of science.
  • n. The manner or style of expressing oneself in language or the arts.
  • n. A language considered as part of a larger family of languages or a linguistic branch. Not in scientific use: Spanish and French are Romance dialects.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A variety of a language (specifically, often a spoken variety) that is characteristic of a particular area, community or group, often with relatively minor differences in vocabulary, style, spelling and pronunciation.
  • n. A dialect of a language perceived as substandard and wrong.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Means or mode of expressing thoughts; language; tongue; form of speech.
  • n. The form of speech of a limited region or people, as distinguished from ether forms nearly related to it; a variety or subdivision of a language; speech characterized by local peculiarities or specific circumstances

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Language; speech; mode of speech; manner of speaking.
  • n. One of a number of related modes of speech, regarded as descended from a common original; a language viewed in its relation to other languages of the same kindred; the idiom of a district or class, differing from that of other districts or classes.
  • n. The idiom of a locality or class, as distinguished from the generally accepted literary language, or speech of educated people.
  • n. 4 Dialectic; logic.
  • To make dialectal.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. the usage or vocabulary that is characteristic of a specific group of people

Etymologies

French dialecte, from Old French, from Latin dialectus, form of speech, from Greek dialektos, speech, from dialegesthai, to discourse, use a dialect : dia-, between, over; see dia- + legesthai, middle voice of legein, to speak; see leg- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Ancient Greek διάλεκτος (diálektos, "conversation, the language of a country or a place or a nation, the local idiom which derives from a dominant language"), from διαλέγομαι (dialégomai, "I participate in a dialogue"), from διά (diá, "inter, through") + λέγω (légō, "I speak"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

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