Definition of basilect in US English:



  • A less prestigious dialect or variety of a particular language (used especially in the study of Creoles).

    Compare with acrolect, mesolect
    • ‘English would be the acrolect while Jamaican would be the basilect.’
    • ‘At this time the great majority of people in the community were speakers primarily of this basilect.’
    • ‘Some like the basilect and some like the acrolect.’
    • ‘Includes standard dialects, nonstandard dialects, idiolects (distinctive of an individual), acrolects (prestigious dialects), basilects (stigmatized dialects), mesolects (dialects neutral as to prestige).’
    • ‘What usually occurs is the incorporation of the acrolect's symbols and ideas, the dogma and doctrine, and the basilect's practices and rituals.’
    regional language, local language, local tongue, local speech, local parlance, variety of language
    View synonyms


1960s: from basis + -lect as in dialect.