Definition of lexis in English:



mass noun
  • 1The total stock of words in a language.

    ‘According to Mr. Schaik, the influence of the Dutch was there in the Indian and Sri Lankan languages which had absorbed a few Dutch words in their lexis.’
    ‘Because the word ‘globalization’ wasn't part of the general lexis back then, the snoring bankers weren't troubled by dark daydreams filled with hungry competitors from a flattening world preparing to eat their splendid lunch.’
    1. 1.1The level of language consisting of vocabulary, as opposed to grammar or syntax.
      ‘the distinction between grammar and lexis’
      • ‘Each major area is enclosed by a large number of isoglosses representing differences in lexis, grammar, and phonology.’
      • ‘This grammar is the first pedagogic grammar to integrate syntax and lexis using corpus data.’
      lexicon, word stock, lexis


1950s (denoting the wording in a piece of writing): from Greek, literally ‘word’ (see lexicon).