of, relating to, or characteristic of or its inhabitants, institutions, etc.
belonging or relating to, or spoken or written in, the English language: a high-school English class;
an English translation of a Spanish novel.
the people of England collectively, especially as distinguished from the Scots, Welsh, and Irish.
the Germanic language of the British Isles, widespread and standard also in the U.S. and most of the British Commonwealth, historically termed Old English (c450–c1150), Middle English (c1150–c1475), and Modern English (after c1475).
Abbreviation: E.
English language, composition, and literature as offered as a course of study in school.
a specific variety of this language, as that of a particular time, place, or person:
American English; Shakespearean English.
simple, straightforward language:
What does all that jargon mean in English?
Sports. (sometimes lowercase)

a spinning motion imparted to a ball, especially in billiards.

Printing. a 14-point type of a size between pica and Columbian.
a grade of calendered paper having a smooth matte finish.
to translate into English:
to English Euripides.
to adopt (a foreign word) into English; Anglicize.
(sometimes lowercase) Sports. to impart English to (a ball).
the many and varied dialects of English spoken in different parts of the world, including not only American and British English, but such varieties as Indian, Pakistani, Australian, and New Zealand English, as well as the English spoken in various African and Asian countries. In some parts of the world, English is spoken as a natural outgrowth of a colonial period during which certain countries, now independent, were part of the British Empire. In other places, people have been encouraged to learn English because of its widespread use as a language of global communication.
Contemporary Examples

Jamshid is now a diligent student at a local college, studying English and beginning his journey.
Why I Love Afghanistan Ching Eikenberry July 2, 2010

Type in a question in plain English: “What was the weather in Rancho Mirage when Gerald Ford died?”
The Google Killer Nicholas Ciarelli May 7, 2009

There are many more moments of dry English humor, including Nigel’s visit to the Biltmore Estate.
On the Road, Old Bean: Two Brits Adventures in America Jessica Ferri December 11, 2013

What does it mean for a Chinese tiger, stuffed by the English, to be left as moth-food today?
An Asian Tiger, Choking on Dust Blake Gopnik October 4, 2012

One comes to me from Mr. Hyde, my wonderful English teacher at Andover.
Anthony Grafton: How I Write Noah Charney July 16, 2013

Historical Examples

“I always feel like a traveling anachronism in one of your English trains,” he said.
The Black Bag Louis Joseph Vance

They have seen the telegraph line, as can be seen by signs they make, but they cannot speak English.
Explorations in Australia John Forrest

She had not counted on the postal arrangements of the English Sabbath.
The Eternal City Hall Caine

Lucas spoke to him in Flemish to explain his own return with the English prentice.
The Armourer’s Prentices Charlotte M. Yonge

The English ship was fairly covered with bits of the flying wreck.
The Naval History of the United States Willis J. Abbot.

the official language of Britain, the US, most parts of the Commonwealth, and certain other countries. It is the native language of over 280 million people and is acquired as a second language by many more. It is an Indo-European language belonging to the West Germanic branch See also Middle English, Old English, Modern English
(functioning as pl) the English, the natives or inhabitants of England collectively
(formerly) a size of printer’s type approximately equal to 14 point
an old style of black-letter typeface
(often not capital) the usual US and Canadian term for side (sense 16)
denoting, using, or relating to the English language
relating to or characteristic of England or the English
verb (transitive)
(archaic) to translate or adapt into English related prefix Anglo-

“people of England; the speech of England,” Old English Englisc (contrasted to Denisc, Frencisce, etc.), from Engle (plural) “the Angles,” the name of one of the Germanic groups that overran the island 5c., supposedly so-called because Angul, the land they inhabited on the Jutland coast, was shaped like a fish hook (see angle (n.)).

The term was used from earliest times without distinction for all the Germanic invaders — Angles, Saxon, Jutes (Bede’s gens Anglorum) — and applied to their group of related languages by Alfred the Great. After 1066, of the population of England (as distinguished from Normans and French), a distinction which lasted only about a generation.

In pronunciation, “En-” has become “In-,” but the older spelling has remained. Meaning “English language or literature as a subject at school” is from 1889. As an adjective, “of or belonging to England,” from late 13c. Old English is from early 13c.

“spin imparted to a ball” (as in billiards), 1860, from French anglé “angled” (see angle (n.)), which is similar to Anglais “English.”


An English muffin (1950s+ Lunch counter)


An area now peaceful but recently and perhaps soon again the scene of violence: They had long since passed Ninety-sixth Street, the infamous DMZ/ Traversing Brooklyn’s DMZ to go to a steak house

[1980s+; fr the region between North and South Korea designated the Demilitarized Zone when the Korean War ended]

1. (Obsolete) The source code for a program, which may be in any language, as opposed to the linkable or executable binary produced from it by a compiler. The idea behind the term is that to a real hacker, a program written in his favourite programming language is at least as readable as English. Usage: mostly by old-time hackers, though recognisable in context.
2. The official name of the database language used by the Pick operating system, actually a sort of crufty, brain-damaged SQL with delusions of grandeur. The name permits marketroids to say “Yes, and you can program our computers in English!” to ignorant suits without quite running afoul of the truth-in-advertising laws.
[“Exploring the Pick Operating System”, J.E. Sisk et al, Hayden 1986].
[Jargon File]

body English
in plain English


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