Definitions

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

  • n. One's native language.
  • n. A parent language.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The language one first learned; the language one grew up with; one's native language.
  • n. The language spoken by one’s ancestors.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. The language of one's native land; native tongue.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. One's native language.
  • n. A tongue or language to which other languages owe their origin.

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

  • n. one's native language; the language learned by children and passed from one generation to the next

Etymologies

Sorry, no etymologies found.

Examples

  • Before us squats her super grass a bearded Afro-Arab merchant seaman who for the price of what I'm earning in a year will dish the dirt on a ring of corrupt customs officers and policemen operating in Liverpool's dock land He speaks only meagre English, his mother tongue being a classical Tanzanian-flavoured Swahili.

    the mission song

  • Succeeding governments in both Italy and Spain have turned a blind eye, according to temperament or expedience, and to this day San Juan remains — on Italian territory in Italian seas — Spanish in thought and flavour; still using in highly bastardized form its founder’s mother tongue and strictly upholding and maintaining his deplorable standards.

    Tour de Force

  • In the ninth century, through the efforts of Sts. Cyril and Methodius and their disciples, the Moravians and the Bulgarians were converted to Christianity, and as the missionaries were Byzantines they introduced their own rite, but translated the Liturgy into Slav, the mother tongue of those nations.

    The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume 6: Fathers of the Church-Gregory XI

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