english


adjective

  1. of, relating to, or characteristic of England or its inhabitants, institutions, etc.
  2. belonging or relating to, or spoken or written in, the English language: a high-school English class; an English translation of a Spanish novel.

noun

  1. the people of England collectively, especially as distinguished from the Scots, Welsh, and Irish.
  2. the Germanic language of the British Isles, widespread and standard also in the U.S. and most of the British Commonwealth, historically termed Old English (c450–c1150), Middle English (c1150–c1475), and Modern English (after c1475). Abbreviation: E
  3. English language, composition, and literature as offered as a course of study in school.
  4. a specific variety of this language, as that of a particular time, place, or person: American English; Shakespearean English.
  5. simple, straightforward language: What does all that jargon mean in English?
  6. Sports. (sometimes lowercase)
    1. a spinning motion imparted to a ball, especially in billiards.
    2. body English.
  7. Printing. a 14-point type of a size between pica and Columbian.
  8. a grade of calendered paper having a smooth matte finish.

verb (used with object)

  1. to translate into English: to English Euripides.
  2. to adopt (a foreign word) into English; Anglicize.
  3. (sometimes lowercase) Sports. to impart English to (a ball).

plural noun

  1. the many and varied dialects of English spoken in different parts of the world, including not only American and British English, but such varieties as Indian, Pakistani, Australian, and New Zealand English, as well as the English spoken in various African and Asian countries. In some parts of the world, English is spoken as a natural outgrowth of a colonial period during which certain countries, now independent, were part of the British Empire. In other places, people have been encouraged to learn English because of its widespread use as a language of global communication.

noun

  1. the official language of Britain, the US, most parts of the Commonwealth, and certain other countries. It is the native language of over 280 million people and is acquired as a second language by many more. It is an Indo-European language belonging to the West Germanic branchSee also Middle English, Old English, Modern English
  2. the English (functioning as plural) the natives or inhabitants of England collectively
  3. (formerly) a size of printer’s type approximately equal to 14 point
  4. an old style of black-letter typeface
  5. (often not capital) the usual US and Canadian term for side (def. 16)

adjective

  1. denoting, using, or relating to the English language
  2. relating to or characteristic of England or the English

verb (tr)

  1. archaic to translate or adapt into EnglishRelated prefix: Anglo-
n.1

“people of England; the speech of England,” Old English Englisc (contrasted to Denisc, Frencisce, etc.), from Engle (plural) “the Angles,” the name of one of the Germanic groups that overran the island 5c., supposedly so-called because Angul, the land they inhabited on the Jutland coast, was shaped like a fish hook (see angle (n.)).

The term was used from earliest times without distinction for all the Germanic invaders — Angles, Saxon, Jutes (Bede’s gens Anglorum) — and applied to their group of related languages by Alfred the Great. After 1066, of the population of England (as distinguished from Normans and French), a distinction which lasted only about a generation.

In pronunciation, “En-” has become “In-,” but the older spelling has remained. Meaning “English language or literature as a subject at school” is from 1889. As an adjective, “of or belonging to England,” from late 13c. Old English is from early 13c.

n.2

“spin imparted to a ball” (as in billiards), 1860, from French anglé “angled” (see angle (n.)), which is similar to Anglais “English.”

see body English; in plain English.

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