Definition of Indo-European in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˌindōˌyo͞orəˈpēən/


1Relating to the family of languages spoken over the greater part of Europe and Asia as far as northern India.
Example sentences
  • The Kurdish minority of northern Iraq speaks an Indo-European language very different from the Semitic language of Arabic.
  • Europe shows a remarkable linguistic homogeneity, with most of the populations speaking languages belonging to the Indo-European family.
  • Nearly all Brazilians speak Portuguese, a Romance language, belonging to the Indo-European language family.
1.1 another term for Proto-Indo-European.
Example sentences
  • Nomadic tribes speaking Indo-European languages descended from the mountain passes in the northwest to settle on the plains of the Punjab around 1700 BC.
  • This they take to support the theory that Indo-European originated in Anatolia and that Indo-European languages arrived in Europe with the spread of agriculture.
  • At this time also successive waves of peoples gradually filtered into the area who spoke an Indo-European language that later became the prototype of Greek.

The Indo-European languages have a history of over 3,000 years. Their unattested, reconstructed ancestor, Proto-Indo-European, is believed to have been spoken well before 4000 bc in a region somewhere to the north or south of the Black Sea. The family comprises twelve branches: Indic (including Sanskrit and its descendants), Iranian, Anatolian (an extinct group including Hittite and other languages), Armenian, Hellenic (Greek), Albanian (possibly descended from Illyrian), Italic (including Latin and the Romance languages), Celtic, Tocharian (an extinct group from central Asia), Germanic (including English, German, Dutch, Gothic, and the Scandinavian languages), Baltic, and Slavic (including Russian, Czech, Bulgarian, Serbian, and Croatian).


1The ancestral Proto-Indo-European language.
Example sentences
  • This would mean that ancestral Indo-European arose in 8100 B.B., plus or minus 1,900 years, considerably earlier than previous estimates of about 4000 B.C.
  • In English, the roots of many words can be found in Latin and Greek and in the language that most likely predated them, called Indo-European.
  • In 1786 he identified similarities or ‘affinities’ between Latin, Greek and Sanskrit, which eventually led to the parent language hypothesis of Indo-European.
1.1The Indo-European family of languages.
Example sentences
  • English is shown within a partial family tree of Indo-European.
  • Pashtu belongs to the North-Eastern group of languages within the Iranian branch of Indo-European.
  • Alliterative meter also seems to predominate in the very earliest texts from the third western branch of Indo-European, Italic.
2A speaker of an Indo-European language, especially Proto-Indo-European.
Example sentences
  • Some of the women are ethnically Iranian, which means that they are Indo-Europeans, and speak Persian.
  • They are not Indo-Europeans and they most likely came from the Near East if not the Orient (this was the argument of Herodotus).

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: In·do-Eu·ro·pe·an

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