Definition of lingo in English:



humorous, informal
  • 1A foreign language or local dialect.

    ‘they were unable to speak a word of the local lingo’
    • ‘Felicity of language is a strong point, and he switches with ease from English into the local lingo.’
    • ‘Learn the lingo with an evening class in a foreign language.’
    • ‘Just wave the camera and smile if you can't speak the local lingo.’
    • ‘Scientists searching for patterns within this cacophony of lingoes are convinced that languages hold pivotal clues to questions about human history that other areas of study have been unable to answer.’
    • ‘She can speak the lingo and read signs and menus.’
    speech, writing, communication, verbal expression, verbalization, vocalization, conversation, speaking, talking, words, utterance, vocabulary, articulation, enunciation, pronunciation, talk, discourse, interchange, intercourse, interaction
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1The vocabulary or jargon of a particular subject or group of people.
      ‘fat, known in medical lingo as adipose tissue’
      • ‘In computer lingo, this is referred to as a Centralized Network Topology.’
      • ‘Well, one might say that such a lingo is spoken only by teenagers and young adults, but is it really so?’
      • ‘I guess economists can be a bit specialized but I was once a High School economics teacher so I speak the lingo, as it were.’
      • ‘While we're on the subject of units, it's important to understand that construction measurement has a language and lingo all its own.’
      • ‘He should bounce back, as we say in the medical lingo, within a few days, I think.’
      • ‘The novelist Herman Melville described the underworld vocabulary as ‘the foulest of all human lingoes, that dialect of sin and death, known as the Cant language, or the Flash.’’
      • ‘He preferred not to trust someone ahead of himself, so he even learned the medical lingo.’
      • ‘Each subject has its own lingo, meaning that, where appropriate, he lays his particular accent on thicker.’
      • ‘In the technical lingo, connecting programs in this way is often called systems integration.’
      • ‘Oh, sure, the spiritual world must necessarily involve some new or unusual vocabulary / lingo.’


Mid 17th century: probably via Portuguese lingoa from Latin lingua tongue.