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

  • adj. Speaking, writing, written in, or composed of several languages.
  • n. A person having a speaking, reading, or writing knowledge of several languages.
  • n. A book, especially a Bible, containing several versions of the same text in different languages.
  • n. A mixture or confusion of languages.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Versed in, or speaking, many languages.
  • adj. Containing, or made up of, several languages.
  • adj. Comprising various linguistic groups
  • n. One who masters, notably speaks, several languages.
  • n. A publication containing several versions of the same text, or the same subject matter in several languages; especially, the Bible in several languages.
  • n. A mixture of langages and/or nomenclatures
  • n. A program written in multiple programming languages.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Containing, or made up, of, several languages.
  • adj. Versed in, or speaking, many languages.
  • n. One who speaks several languages.
  • n. A book containing several versions of the same text, or containing the same subject matter in several languages; esp., the Scriptures in several languages.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Using or containing many languages; many-languaged: as, a polyglot lexicon or Bible.
  • n. A book containing in parallel columns versions of the same text in several different languages.
  • n. One who understands or uses many languages.

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

  • adj. having a command of or composed in many languages
  • n. a person who speaks more than one language


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

French polyglotte, from Greek poluglōttos : polu-, poly- + glōtta, tongue, language.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Ancient Greek πολύγλωττος (poluglōttos, "many-tongued, polyglot"), from πολύς (polus, "many") + γλῶττα (glōtta, "tongue, language") (Attic variant of γλῶσσα (glōssa)).


  • By the way, the term polyglot from its Greek roots literally means many tongues.

    Planet Python

  • A polyglot is a speaker of two or more languages, and a hyperglot a speaker of six or more.

    Web Translations » Blog Archive » Language learning: how much is too much?

  • Later he speaks to her in polyglot Chinook and insists she come home with him.

    “There be things greater than our wisdom, beyond our justice.”

  • Joyce, living through the next decade in polyglot Trieste, finished the Portrait and began Ulysses in 1914.

    James Joyce

  • Cal Galbraith crossed over with great strides, angrily, and spoke to Madeline in polyglot Chinook.

    The Wife of the King

  • The energy keeps rising as the music does, as if there might be no other place in the world worth being at than this fashion party in the Centro Histórico of Mexico City with hundreds of familiar strangers—some Mexican, some British, some American, some a mixture of Mexican, and others of Latin American polyglot heritage.

    Down and Delirious in Mexico City

  • This is an essential, engaging discussion for those interested in learning more about JRuby and the trend toward what Ford calls polyglot programming.

    JRuby Podcast on JavaWorld

  • - Being a polyglot is a good thing -- we are not language bigots.

  • He'd got rid of his Luna accent, too, carefully cultivating an English one that was a kind of polyglot of cinema Cockney, late twentieth-century Transatlantic, and Liverpudlian.

    The Life of the World to Come

  • As the faiths spread, translations of sacred texts were needed; complex "polyglot" editions developed in which translations might appear in columns beside the original text or interwoven between its lines.

    NYT > Home Page


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  • I wish to become one, one day.

    January 10, 2018

  • "The sixteen months that it took to measure the length of a degree along a polar meridian hardly compares with the six years those who went to the equator spent in the Andes, but it was no picnic either. Maupertuis's team had to ferry themselves and their equipment up and down mountains and by way of rivers whose cataracts forced them into lengthy portages. Like the La Condamine party, Maupertuis's also relied on the labor of the local people, in this case a contingent of Finnish peasants in the Swedish army. Testimony to the polyglot world of eighteenth-century Europe, the group even included a translator who spoke Finnish, Latin, Swedish, and French."

    --Joyce Appleby, Shores of Knowledge: New World Discoveries and the Scientific Imagination (New York and London: W.W. Norton & Co., 2013), p. 166

    This may sound amazing only to a 21st-century American...

    December 28, 2016