Definition of colloquial in English:



  • (of language) used in ordinary or familiar conversation; not formal or literary.

    • ‘A boom is a colloquial term for an economy that is expanding above the GDP's average annual growth.’
    • ‘In all these collections, Neruda turns to a simple style and colloquial language to talk about objects of everyday life.’
    • ‘He uses refined colloquial language with a rhythm that is light and quick, an unhesitating flow that propels the poem and carries the reader.’
    • ‘Shepard has a gift for combining lyrical description with a colloquial voice.’
    • ‘This is the origin of the colloquial use of ‘coconut’ to refer to one's head.’
    • ‘Often they alone preserved the colloquial speech, the real language of everyday use.’
    • ‘Either it was done in a great hurry, or the translator has only a passing acquaintance with colloquial English.’
    • ‘It is to this group of ancient hominids that the term ‘ape man’ is most commonly applied today, but the term is informal or colloquial.’
    • ‘She taught colloquial English at Tsuruga College in Japan at the age of 16 as part of an exchange program.’
    • ‘Your purchase is rational in the normal, colloquial sense of the word but not necessarily in the social science meaning.’
    • ‘I had four or five Chinese dialects at my disposal, phrases in colloquial English, and of course, Malay.’
    • ‘Her ear for colloquial phrases and conversational interplay is equally impressive.’
    • ‘If I need to respond, I do so in colloquial English using my thickest Northern accent.’
    • ‘The production cries out for a better translation than the uncredited one that veers between stilted and colloquial.’
    • ‘However, until the 1920s, few local recipe books used the colloquial name, and then sometimes only as a subtitle.’
    • ‘The language is often colloquial and vigorous.’
    • ‘Ira had a great ear for colloquial language, especially the language of sports.’
    • ‘His highly colloquial use of the language had seemed cute at first.’
    • ‘Second, the Arabic tutor will most likely be teaching you a colloquial form of Arabic rather than modern standard Arabic.’
    • ‘In some places the use of more colloquial language seems to work and not detract from the original gospels, but in other places it came across to me as contrived.’
    informal, conversational, everyday, casual, non-literary
    natural, unofficial, unpretentious, familiar, chatty, friendly, idiomatic, slangy
    vernacular, Popular, demotic
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Mid 18th century: from Latin colloquium conversation + -al.