a. The everyday language spoken by a people as distinguished from the literary language.
b. A variety of such everyday language specific to a social group or region: the vernaculars of New York City.
2. The specialized vocabulary of a particular trade, profession, or group: in the legal vernacular.
3. The common, nonscientific name of a plant or animal.
1. Native to or commonly spoken by the members of a particular country or region.
2. Using the native language of a region, especially as distinct from the literary language: a vernacular poet.
3. Relating to or expressed in the native language or dialect.
4. 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.
5. Occurring or existing in a particular locality; endemic: a vernacular disease.
6. Relating to or designating the common, nonscientific name of a biological species.
[From Latin vernāculus, native, from verna, native slave, perhaps of Etruscan origin.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.