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From French vocabulaire, borrowed from Late Latin vocābulārium. See vocable.



vocabulary (countable and uncountable, plural vocabularies)

  1. A usually alphabetized and explained collection of words e.g. of a particular field, or prepared for a specific purpose, often for learning.
  2. The collection of words a person knows and uses.
    My Russian vocabulary is very limited.
  3. The stock of words used in a particular field.
    The vocabulary of social sciences is often incomprehensible to ordinary people.
  4. The words of a language collectively; lexis.
    The vocabulary of any language is influenced by contacts with other cultures.
    • 2018, Clarence Green; James Lambert, “Advancing disciplinary literacy through English for academic purposes: Discipline-specific wordlists, collocations and word families for eight secondary subjects”, in Journal of English for Academic Purposes, volume 35, →DOI, page 106:
      Vocabulary provides a foundation from which grammar, phonology, and morphology emerge, and in a subject area it provides access to conceptual knowledge. Vocabulary selection for pedagogical purposes is therefore crucial.
  5. (by extension) A range of artistic or stylistic forms or techniques.


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