Definition of basilect in English:



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

    Compare with acrolect, mesolect
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘English would be the acrolect while Jamaican would be the basilect.’
    regional language, local language, local tongue, local speech, local parlance, variety of language
    View synonyms


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