Etymology
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lingua franca (n.)

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.

updated on July 22, 2016

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Definitions of lingua franca from WordNet

lingua franca (n.)
a common language used by speakers of different languages;
Koine is a dialect of ancient Greek that was the lingua franca of the empire of Alexander the Great and was widely spoken throughout the eastern Mediterranean area in Roman times
Synonyms: interlanguage / koine
Etymologies are not definitions. From wordnet.princeton.edu, not affiliated with etymonline.