English language


(1)   An Indo-European language belonging to the West Germanic branch; the official language of Britain and the United States and most of the commonwealth countries


From < , a Germanic tribe).


  1. English-language; of or pertaining to the English language.
  2. Of or pertaining to England or its people.
  3. Of or pertaining to the avoirdupois system of measure.
    an English ton

Proper noun

  1. The language originating in England but now spoken in all parts of the British Isles, the Commonwealth of Nations, the United States of America, and other parts of the world.
    English is spoken here as an unofficial language and lingua franca.
  2. (collective plural) The people of England; Englishmen and Englishwomen.
    The Scottish and English have a history of conflict.

Usage notes

  • The name of the language, English, when it means "the English language", does not assume an article.
  • The people as a collective noun requires the definite article "the" or a demonstrative adjective.


  1. One’s ability to employ the English language correctly.
    My coworker has pretty good English for a non-native speaker.
  2. The English-language term or expression for something.
    What’s the English for ‘à peu près’?
  3. Specific language or wording; a text or statements in speech, whether a translation or otherwise.
    The technical details are correct, but the English is not very clear.


  1. To render into English.
    • 1621, Robert Burton, The Anatomy of Melancholy, New York 2001, p. 214:
      [...] severe prohibuit viris suis tum misceri feminas in consuetis suis menstruis, etc. I spare to English this which I have said.

See also