from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun The study of how words and their component parts combine to form sentences.
  • noun The study of structural relationships in language or in a language, sometimes including pronunciation, meaning, and linguistic history.
  • noun The system of inflections, syntax, and word formation of a language.
  • noun The system of rules implicit in a language, viewed as a mechanism for generating all sentences possible in that language.
  • noun A normative or prescriptive set of rules setting forth the current standard of usage for pedagogical or reference purposes.
  • noun Writing or speech judged with regard to such a set of rules.
  • noun A book containing the morphologic, syntactic, and semantic rules for a specific language.
  • noun The basic principles of an area of knowledge.
  • noun A book dealing with such principles.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To discourse according to the rules of grammar.
  • noun A systematic account of the usages of a language, as regards especially the parts of speech it distinguishes, the forms and uses of inflected words, and the combinations of words into sentences; hence, also, a similar account of a group of languages, or of all languages or language in general, so far as these admit a common treatment.
  • noun Grammatical statements viewed as the rules of a language to which speakers or writers must conform; propriety of linguistic usage; accepted or correct mode of speech or writing.
  • noun A treatise on grammar.
  • noun An account of the elements of any branch of knowledge, prepared for teaching or learning: an outline or sketch of the principles of a subject: as, a grammar of geography; a grammar of art.
  • noun The formal principles of any science; a system of rules to be observed in the putting together of any kind of elements.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • intransitive verb obsolete To discourse according to the rules of grammar; to use grammar.
  • noun The science which treats of the principles of language; the study of forms of speech, and their relations to one another; the art concerned with the right use and application of the rules of a language, in speaking or writing.
  • noun The art of speaking or writing with correctness or according to established usage; speech considered with regard to the rules of a grammar.
  • noun A treatise on the principles of language; a book containing the principles and rules for correctness in speaking or writing.
  • noun treatise on the elements or principles of any science.
  • noun the science which determines the relations of kindred languages by examining and comparing their grammatical forms.
  • noun A school, usually endowed, in which Latin and Greek grammar are taught, as also other studies preparatory to colleges or universities; as, the famous Rugby Grammar School. This use of the word is more common in England than in the United States.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A system of rules and principles for speaking and writing a language.
  • noun uncountable, linguistics The study of the internal structure of words (morphology) and the use of words in the construction of phrases and sentences (syntax).
  • noun A book describing the rules of grammar of a language.
  • noun computing theory A formal system specifying the syntax of a language.
  • noun computing theory A formal system defining a formal language
  • noun The basic rules or principles of a field of knowledge or a particular skill.
  • noun UK, archaic a textbook.
  • noun UK A grammar school.
  • verb obsolete, intransitive To discourse according to the rules of grammar; to use grammar.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun the branch of linguistics that deals with syntax and morphology (and sometimes also deals with semantics)


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English gramere, from Old French gramaire, alteration of Latin grammatica, from Greek grammatikē, from feminine of grammatikos, of letters, from gramma, grammat-, letter; see gerbh- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English gramarye, gramery, from Old French gramaire ("classical learning"), from Latin grammatica, from Ancient Greek γραμματική (grammatike, "skilled in writing"), from γράμμα (gramma, "line of writing"), from γράφω (grapho, "write"), from Proto-Indo-European *gerebh- (“to scratch”).


Help support Wordnik (and make this page ad-free) by adopting the word grammar.



Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • Wordie wear?

    September 18, 2008

  • Stig O'Tracey is totally convinced that he had done wrong. He can’t give an account of what the unwritten law says, but he is fully prepared to believe that he has violated it, and that his head should be nailed to the floor as punishment.

    That is the view so many people have of grammar. It’s a body of cryptic doctrine,the content and purpose of which is unclear to most people but presumably known to experts; and the thing about it is that if you ever transgress, then wham, you can be hauled in front of some grammar-teaching Dinsdale Piranha for a horrible punishment.

    —Geoffrey Pullum, 'The Piranha Brothers, the Unwritten Grammatical Law, and the Phenomenon of Nerdview' (.pdf of lecture, 2008)

    June 15, 2009

  • Galfridus Grammaticus aka Geoffrey the Grammarian wrote the first English-Latin dictionary in the 1500's.

    He didn't invent the word grammar, but in a recursive kind of way, he invents a dictionary, which has the word grammar in it. /inception

    I learned this by searching google books for 'It's good grammar'

    January 26, 2013