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

  • noun Fabricated and nonmeaningful speech, especially such speech associated with a trance state or certain schizophrenic syndromes.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun The gift of tongues; the ability to speak foreign languages without having consciously learned them. This power is asserted to be sometimes present in somnambulistic persons.

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

  • noun The gift of tongues. Farrar.

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

  • noun Speaking in tongues; speaking a language one does not know, or speaking elaborate but apparently meaningless speech, while in a trance-like state (or, supposedly, under the influence of spirits).
  • noun Xenoglossy.

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

  • noun repetitive nonmeaningful speech (especially that associated with a trance state or religious fervor)


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

New Latin : Greek glōssa, tongue + Greek lalein, to babble.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From glosso- + -lalia.


  • The term glossolalia, it shall be further argued below, refers specifically to the supernatural practice of speaking in a genuine language that one has not acquired by natural means.


  • No, no, you've got it all wrong ... glossolalia is way too exciting.

    no wonder i'm so alienated

  • This is also known as glossolalia or “speaking in tongues.”


  • It is a religion where the Sacramental life is secondary in importance to signs of wonders and religious experiences of all kinds especially glossolalia, that is, speaking in tongues.

    Spero News

  • (collectively known as glossolalia) are described at length in I

    The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume 3: Brownson-Clairvaux

  • Another area of interest is whether some religious phenomena such as glossolalia (speaking in tongues),prophecy, spiritual gifts of word of knowledge, and spiritual (or divine) healing may be explained by noetic science.

    Archive 2010-03-01

  • His brand of evangelicalism, known as pentecostalism, featured "glossolalia" (speaking in tongues), ecstatic worship and divine healing.

    Randall Balmer: Oral Roberts' Death Leaves Legacy Of Televangelism

  • Charismatic is an umbrella term used to describe those Christians who believe that the manifestations of the Holy Spirit seen in the first century Christian Church, such as glossolalia speaking in tongues, healing and miracles, are available to contemporary Christians and ought to be experienced and practiced today.

    Archive 2004-09-01

  • Pentecostalism are two similar movements founded in the twentieth century which prioritize an individual's experience of God through the Holy Spirit, including the reception of spiritual gifts such as glossolalia, spiritual healing, and prophecy.

    Citizendium, the Citizens' Compendium - Recent changes [en]

  • One of my finds was a 14-minute-long recording of a guy praying very fervently and emotionally, even lapsing into glossolalia.

    Boing Boing


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  • A north-central Florida pastor who occasionally speaks in tongues was forced to resign from a Nazarene church last month. As is common in the South when a churchman is forced to leave, he took a number of his flock with him to start a new church.

    August 5, 2010

  • Who calls it "tongue-speaking"? I've only ever heard "speaking in tongues".

    March 30, 2009

  • "Without question, the early Christians indulged in one very odd form of behavior, but whether it was truly ecstatic, or even communal, is not so clear. This was speaking in tongues, technically called glossolalia and colloquially, in our own time, tongue-speaking."

    —Barbara Ehrenreich, Dancing in the Streets: A History of Collective Joy (New York: Metropolitan Books, 2006), 67

    March 14, 2009