lingua franca (n.) Look up lingua franca at
1620s, from Italian, literally "Frankish tongue." A stripped-down Italian peppered with Spanish, French, Greek, Arabic, and Turkish words, it began as a form of communication in the Levant. The name probably is from the Arabic custom, dating back to the Crusades, of calling all Europeans Franks (see Frank). Sometimes in 17c. English sources also known as Bastard Spanish.