Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for September 6, 2020 is:

colloquial • kuh-LOH-kwee-ul  • adjective

1 a : used in or characteristic of familiar and informal conversation; also : unacceptably informal

b : using conversational style

2 : of or relating to conversation : conversational


The author can switch from formal academic language to a charmingly colloquial style, depending on the audience and subject of her writing.

“The [show’s] dialogue is often colloquial and rapid-fire, however, and you may need to switch on the English subtitles fairly frequently. On the other hand, you’ll know exactly how to say ‘What an idiot!’ in French after an episode or two.” — Roslyn Sulcas, The New York Times, 11 May 2020

Did you know?

The noun colloquy was first used in English to refer to a conversation or dialogue, and when the adjective colloquial was formed from colloquy it had a similar focus. Over time, however, colloquial developed a more specific meaning related to language that is most suited to informal conversation—and it ultimately garnered an additional, disparaging implication of a style that seems too informal for a situation. Colloquy and colloquial trace back to the Latin verb colloqui, meaning “to converse.” Colloqui in turn was formed by combining the prefix com- (“with”) and loqui (“to speak”). Other conversational descendants of loqui in English include circumlocution, eloquent, loquacious, soliloquy, and ventriloquism.

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