What does dialect mean?

Definitions for dialect
ˈdaɪ əˌlɛktdi·alect

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word dialect.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. dialect, idiom, accentnoun

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

    "the immigrants spoke an odd dialect of English"; "he has a strong German accent"; "it has been said that a language is a dialect with an army and navy"


  1. dialectnoun

    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.

    A language is a dialect with an army and a navy.

  2. dialectnoun

    A dialect of a language perceived as substandard and wrong.

  3. Etymology: From διάλεκτος, from διαλέγομαι, from διά + λέγω.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. DIALECTnoun

    Etymology: διάλεϰτος.

    When themselves do practise that whereof they write, they change their dialect; and those words they shun, as if there were in them some secret sting. Richard Hooker, b. v. s. 22.

    In her youth
    There is a prone and speechless dialect,
    Such as moves men. William Shakespeare, Measure for Measure.

    If the conferring of a kindness did not bind the person, upon whom it was conferred, to the returns of gratitude, why, in the universal dialect of the world, are kindnesses still called obligations? Robert South, Sermons.


  1. dialect

    A dialect refers to a specific form of a language that is unique to a particular region or social group. It involves differences in pronunciation, grammar, vocabulary and syntax from the standard form of the language. Dialects can be based on geographical areas, socioeconomic groups, age groups, ethnic groups, or other communities.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Dialectnoun

    means or mode of expressing thoughts; language; tongue; form of speech

  2. Dialectnoun

    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; as, the Ionic and Attic were dialects of Greece; the Yorkshire dialect; the dialect of the learned


  1. Dialect

    The term dialect is used in two distinct ways, even by linguists. One usage refers to a variety of a language that is a characteristic of a particular group of the language's speakers. The term is applied most often to regional speech patterns, but a dialect may also be defined by other factors, such as social class. A dialect that is associated with a particular social class can be termed a sociolect, a dialect that is associated with a particular ethnic group can be termed as ethnolect, and a regional dialect may be termed a regiolect or topolect. The other usage refers to a language that is socially subordinate to a regional or national standard language, often historically cognate to the standard, but not a variety of it or in any other sense derived from it. A framework was developed in 1967 by Heinz Kloss, Ausbau-, Abstand- and Dach-sprache, to describe speech communities, that while unified politically and/or culturally, include multiple dialects which though closely related genetically may be divergent to the point of inter-dialect unintelligibility. A dialect is distinguished by its vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation. Where a distinction can be made only in terms of pronunciation, the term accent is appropriate, not dialect. Other speech varieties include: standard languages, which are standardized for public performance; jargons, which are characterized by differences in lexicon; slang; patois; pidgins or argots.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Dialect

    dī′a-lekt, n. a variety or form of a language peculiar to a district: a non-literary vernacular: a peculiar manner of speaking.—adj. Dialect′al.—adv. Dialect′ally.—ns. Dialect′icism; Dialectol′ogist; Dialectol′ogy. [Through Fr. and L. from Gr. dialektos, speech, manner of speech, peculiarity of speech—dia, between, legein, to speak.]

Editors Contribution

  1. dialect

    An expression of language.

    Dialect varies across different countries.

    Submitted by MaryC on March 12, 2020  

Suggested Resources

  1. Dialect

    Language vs. Dialect -- In this Grammar.com article you will learn the differences between the words Language and Dialect.

Anagrams for dialect »

  1. citadel

  2. deltaic

  3. edictal

  4. lactide

How to pronounce dialect?

How to say dialect in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of dialect in Chaldean Numerology is: 3

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of dialect in Pythagorean Numerology is: 9

Examples of dialect in a Sentence

  1. Larry Sloven:

    The Thai guy, his family was from Chinaoriginallyso he spoke a certain dialect. And the factory in China – my supplier - and him speak the same dialect, what a home run!

  2. Thomas Hardy:

    Dialect words are those terrible marks of the beast to the truly genteel.

  3. Max Weinreich:

    A language is a dialect with an army and a navy.

  4. Elaine Higgleton:

    It's actually been around since the 1990s, and binge is an old Lincolnshire dialect word that made its way into common English in the 19th century, from a very slow start, it has really taken off exponentially as a term people are using every day.

  5. Joshua Landis:

    Many of them are from rural Ethiopia, they speak Amharic and dialect, the vast majority were very slow to learn Hebrew because they were older. The younger generation does, but even 50 % of the younger generation don't graduate from high school.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for dialect

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

Get even more translations for dialect »


Find a translation for the dialect definition in other languages:

Select another language:

  • - Select -
  • 简体中文 (Chinese - Simplified)
  • 繁體中文 (Chinese - Traditional)
  • Español (Spanish)
  • Esperanto (Esperanto)
  • 日本語 (Japanese)
  • Português (Portuguese)
  • Deutsch (German)
  • العربية (Arabic)
  • Français (French)
  • Русский (Russian)
  • ಕನ್ನಡ (Kannada)
  • 한국어 (Korean)
  • עברית (Hebrew)
  • Gaeilge (Irish)
  • Українська (Ukrainian)
  • اردو (Urdu)
  • Magyar (Hungarian)
  • मानक हिन्दी (Hindi)
  • Indonesia (Indonesian)
  • Italiano (Italian)
  • தமிழ் (Tamil)
  • Türkçe (Turkish)
  • తెలుగు (Telugu)
  • ภาษาไทย (Thai)
  • Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese)
  • Čeština (Czech)
  • Polski (Polish)
  • Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian)
  • Românește (Romanian)
  • Nederlands (Dutch)
  • Ελληνικά (Greek)
  • Latinum (Latin)
  • Svenska (Swedish)
  • Dansk (Danish)
  • Suomi (Finnish)
  • فارسی (Persian)
  • ייִדיש (Yiddish)
  • հայերեն (Armenian)
  • Norsk (Norwegian)
  • English (English)

Word of the Day

Would you like us to send you a FREE new word definition delivered to your inbox daily?

Please enter your email address:


Use the citation below to add this definition to your bibliography:


"dialect." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 11 Dec. 2023. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/dialect>.

Discuss these dialect definitions with the community:


    Are we missing a good definition for dialect? Don't keep it to yourself...

    Image or illustration of


    Credit »

    Free, no signup required:

    Add to Chrome

    Get instant definitions for any word that hits you anywhere on the web!

    Free, no signup required:

    Add to Firefox

    Get instant definitions for any word that hits you anywhere on the web!

    Browse Definitions.net


    Are you a words master?

    proceed or issue forth, as from a source
    • A. scarper
    • B. elate
    • C. loom
    • D. emanate

    Nearby & related entries:

    Alternative searches for dialect: