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

  • noun The everyday language spoken by a people as distinguished from the literary language.
  • noun A variety of such everyday language specific to a social group or region.
  • noun The specialized vocabulary of a particular trade, profession, or group.
  • noun The common, nonscientific name of a plant or animal.
  • adjective Native to or commonly spoken by the members of a particular country or region.
  • adjective Using the native language of a region, especially as distinct from the literary language.
  • adjective Relating to or expressed in the native language or dialect.
  • adjective Of or being an indigenous building style using local materials and traditional methods of construction and ornament, especially as distinguished from academic or historical architectural styles.
  • adjective Occurring or existing in a particular locality; endemic.
  • adjective Relating to or designating the common, nonscientific name of a biological species.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Native; indigenous; belonging to the country of one's birth; belonging to the speech that one naturally acquires: as, English is our vernacular language. The word is always, or almost always, used of the native language or ordinary idiom of a place.
  • Hence, specifically, characteristic of a locality: as, vernacular architecture.
  • noun One's mother-tongue; the native idiom of a place; by extension, the language of a particular calling.

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

  • adjective Belonging to the country of one's birth; one's own by birth or nature; native; indigenous; -- now used chiefly of language.
  • noun The vernacular language; one's mother tongue; often, the common forms of expression in a particular locality, opposed to literary or learned forms.

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

  • noun The language of a people, a national language.
  • noun Everyday speech, including colloquialisms, as opposed to literary or liturgical language.
  • noun Language unique to a particular group of people; jargon, argot.
  • noun Roman Catholicism, uncountable The indigenous language of a people, into which the words of the Mass are translated.
  • adjective Of or pertaining to everyday language.

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

  • noun a characteristic language of a particular group (as among thieves)
  • adjective being or characteristic of or appropriate to everyday language
  • noun the everyday speech of the people (as distinguished from literary language)


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

[From Latin vernāculus, native, from verna, native slave, perhaps of Etruscan origin.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Latin vernāculus ("domestic, indigenous, of or pertaining to home-born slaves"), from verna ("a native, a home-born slave (one born in his master's house)").


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  • Employ the vernacular.

    January 25, 2007

  • Nonstandard speech v. standard speech.

    May 24, 2008


    Better get under cover, Sylvester --

    there's a storm blowing up -- a whopper, to

    speak in the vernacular of the peasantry.

    Poor little kid -- I hope she gets home all


    June 11, 2010