a. The study of the rules whereby words or other elements of sentence structure are combined to form grammatical sentences.
b. A publication, such as a book, that presents such rules.
c. The pattern of formation of sentences or phrases in a language.
d. Such a pattern in a particular sentence or discourse.
2. Computers The rules governing the formation of statements in a programming language.
3. A systematic, orderly arrangement.
[French syntaxe, from Late Latin syntaxis, from Greek suntaxis, from suntassein, to put in order : sun-, syn- + tassein, tag-, to arrange.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.