• noun a language, jargon or way of speaking. The word, which often indicates puzzlement, amusement or xenophobia on the part of the speaker, obviously derives ultimately from the Latin word lingua, meaning tongue and language. The question as to which romance language inspired the modern slang word is difficult to resolve; it may be a corruption of the Latin word itself, or of Italian, Spanish (lengua), or Portuguese (lingoa). Proven├žal is the only modern language in which the correct form of the word is lingo.