Definition of glossolalia in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˌɡläsəˈlālēə/
Pronunciation: /ˌɡlôsəˈlālēə/


The phenomenon of (apparently) speaking in an unknown language, especially in religious worship. It is practiced especially by Pentecostal and charismatic Christians.
Example sentences
  • In charismatic Christian communities glossolalia is sacred and referred to as ‘speaking in tongues’ or having ‘the gift of tongues.’
  • The soundtrack combines Pentecostal glossolalia (speaking in tongues) with recordings of unrestrained laughter.
  • Pentecostalism takes its name from its central tenet of baptism in the Spirit and the associated experience of speaking in tongues or glossolalia.



Pronunciation: /-ˌlālik/
Example sentences
  • It's definitely music, although occasionally glossolalic.
  • The passage is a scathing criticism of the pentecostalist view of the glossolalic utterance.
  • The issue largely depends on whether the oracle normally gave her responses in glossolalic or in intelligible speech.


Late 19th century: from Greek glōssa 'language, tongue' + lalia 'speech'.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: glos·so·la·li·a

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