Lingua franca


(1)   A common language used by speakers of different languages
"Koine is a dialect of ancient Greek that was the lingua franca of the empire of Alexander the Great and was widely spoken throughout the eastern Mediterranean area in Roman times"


see usage notes
  1. a common language used by people of diverse backgrounds to communicate with one another, often a basic form of speech with simplified grammar

Usage notes

On the plural form: This phrase, being originally Italian, would have as its original plural , which is rare but attested in English. The pedantic English plural would be , as is the head noun; similar words that pluralize on this pattern are and . The most common plural in English, however, appears to be . There is also a form which adopts a Latinate reading of the term; this form is suggested in dictionaries alongside lingua francas, but also appears to be rare in English.


lingua franca
  1. The Mediterranean Lingua Franca, a common language spoken in Mediterranean ports in centuries past (consisting of Italian mixed with French, Spanish, Arabic and some Greek words and used by sailors of different countries to communicate with one another).