Definition of English in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈɪŋɡlɪʃ/


Relating to England or its people or language.
Example sentences
  • The English language over the last 1,000 years has borrowed words from 350 other languages.
  • The displays include English language descriptions and parking is conveniently located in front of the building.
  • During the following year and a half, she has stayed at home except for giving English classes in language schools on weekends.


1 [mass noun] The language of England, now widely used in many varieties throughout the world.
Example sentences
  • And children should be exposed to the entire variety of Englishes, not just one or the other.
  • We hear English, Japanese, Arabic, Dutch and Spanish.
  • Spanish is the first language, but English is widely spoken in the tourist trade.
2 (as plural noun the English) The people of England.
Example sentences
  • It's thought to be endemic in the English. ‘An Englishman's home is his castle’.
  • His prime subject has always been England and the English.
  • And as any subcontinental cricketer will tell you, beating the English in England is very special.
3 [mass noun] North American Spin or side given to a ball, especially in pool or billiards: put more English on the ball
More example sentences
  • Make a firm decision on English and/or the cue ball path before bending down to make the shot.
  • Right English on the Cue Ball will throw the Object Ball to the left.
  • English is used to dramatically increase or decrease the cue ball deflection angle.

English is the principal language of Great Britain, the US, Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and many other countries. There are some 400 million native speakers, and it is the medium of communication for many millions more: it is the most widely used second language in the world. It belongs to the West Germanic group of Indo-European languages, though its vocabulary has been much influenced by Norman French and Latin.





Old English Englisc (see Angle, -ish1). The word originally denoted the early Germanic settlers of Britain (Angles, Saxons, and Jutes), or their language (now called Old English).

  • England and the English get their names from the Angles, an ancient Germanic people who came to England in the 5th century ad and founded kingdoms in the Midlands, Northumbria, and East Anglia. Their name came to refer to all of the early Germanic settlers of Britain—the Angles, Saxons, and Jutes—and their language, which we now call Old English. The first written example of English (spelled Engliscne) comes from the The Treaty of Alfred and Guthrum, an agreement between King Alfred the Great and Guthrum, the Viking ruler of East Anglia. Its exact date is uncertain, but it was probably written around 880. For an account of how the Angles got their name see angle, and see also British. The proverb An Englishman's home is his castle has been around in various forms since at least 1581. Dickens uses it in The Pickwick Papers (1837): ‘Some people maintains that an Englishman's house is his castle. That's gammon [nonsense].’

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: Eng|lish

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