Definition of syntax in English:

syntax

noun

mass noun
  • 1The arrangement of words and phrases to create well-formed sentences in a language.

    ‘the syntax of English’
    • ‘Try to imagine a world without language; a world where words, grammar and syntax suddenly become meaningless.’
    • ‘Avoid translating prompts word for word because syntax and common word usage vary widely among languages.’
    • ‘Thus, as we each make meaning out of language, we do far more than compute an interpretation deriving from the interaction of syntax and word meaning.’
    • ‘It appears to be the case that no language has its word order or anything about its syntax determined by facts of pronunciation.’
    • ‘This at least seems true in the limited sense that all human tribes, classes and even professions instinctively create their own vocabularies, phrases and even syntax.’
    • ‘Beneath the surface grinds the invisible machinery of grammar, language, syntax and rhetoric, the gears of making meaning, the hardware of the trade.’
    • ‘He divides his students into groups and gives them one semester to create their own language - complete with its own syntax and lexicon.’
    • ‘Opting for an unusually loose, appositional syntax which strings together phrases or clauses that come at a phenomenon from different angles, he manages to give a sensuous concreteness to abstract concepts.’
    • ‘I suspect that the error is due to the differing difficulty of the syntax of the two sentences.’
    • ‘The word choice and syntax are mine, the allusions part of my mental framework.’
    • ‘The meaning of a word varies when syntax is arranged differently.’
    • ‘It comes as a surprise to most beginners in contemporary mainstream linguistics when they find that, instead, the central component of language is presented as syntax.’
    • ‘They worked their way through many features of language, from words to syntax to speech, that they argued show signs of adaptation in humans specifically for language.’
    • ‘Of course, this tiny ‘language,’ consisting of one-word sentences, has no syntax.’
    • ‘To get facility with Italian as a third language, you would need only to grasp minor changes in word forms and syntax.’
    • ‘Additionally, he is criticized for overuse of complex words and syntax.’
    • ‘The background may not merely enable the reasonable man to choose between the possible meaning of words which are ambiguous but even to conclude that the parties must, for whatever reasons, have used the wrong words or syntax.’
    • ‘He spent eight years teaching high school Latin, which perhaps explains the purity of his syntax and word choices.’
    • ‘The other thing that they're learning about is syntax, phrase boundaries and clause boundaries.’
    • ‘What is the point of syntax if we drop word order entirely?’
    1. 1.1 A set of rules for or an analysis of the syntax of a language.
      ‘generative syntax’
    2. 1.2 The branch of linguistics that deals with syntax.
      • ‘It's too bad that (as far as I know) linguists who study syntax, semantics and pragmatics have not been involved in this enterprise to any significant extent.’
      • ‘The word is borrowed by analogy from the terminology of linguistic syntax.’
      • ‘The chapters that follow deal with vocabulary, syntax, onomastics, phonology, English grammar and usage and, finally, literary language.’
  • 2The structure of statements in a computer language.

    • ‘Furthermore, you may need a similar macro using Java syntax for programming Java.’
    • ‘It presents valuable, precise programming syntax and advice for every Linux programmer, whether you are a novice, intermediate or expert programmer.’
    • ‘At first, these new HTML authoring tools did little more than help us remember the arcane syntax of HTML.’
    • ‘The command syntax to do so is very similar to that of the familiar mount command.’
    • ‘He then gives you the three variants in syntax for the various UNIX systems the book covers.’

Origin

Late 16th century: from French syntaxe, or via late Latin from Greek suntaxis, from sun- ‘together’ + tassein ‘arrange’.

Pronunciation

syntax

/ˈsɪntaks/