“As a foreigner, she found his colloquial language quite confusing.”

As used above, what is the best definition of colloquial?

Check your answer!

Choice A - Of social interaction, friendly and affable in nature
Choice B - Of social interaction, reserved and avoidant in nature
Choice C - Of speech, damaging and intended to injure someone’s reputation
Choice D - Of speech, informal and specific to a certain group or region


Colloquial (adjective) – used in everyday conversation (particularly within a certain group or region); more fitting to informal speech than formal writing

Colloquialism (noun) – a popular, or common, word or a phrase

Colloquium (noun) – a conference  

GRE pro tips:

Colloquial is derived from the Latin root loqu, which means “to speak.” Specifically, colloquial refers to language that is spoken by people of the same age cohort or who cohabitate the same area. Similarly, a colloquialism is a popular, or common, word or phrase particular to a group or region. Often, colloquial speech emerges from youth culture and finds its way into the vernacular, or popular expression. If there’s a term that you use primarily among your friends, chances are it’s an emerging colloquialism.

Examples of colloquial language include the contractions “ain’t” and “gonna,” as well as phrases such as “penny-pincher” and “eat my dust,” and aphorisms such as “Put your money where your mouth is.” Regional differences in word choice – such as how people refer to a “soda” (or “coke” or “pop” or “soft drink”) – can also be referred to as “colloquial differences.”

Example sentences:

“Students should avoid using language that is too colloquial in their essays.”

“The French tourist struggled to grasp the nuance of American colloquialisms.”