I'm trying to recall a word I've used before and I'm coming up blank. Here is the context: in computer programming, we often have new languages with multiple ways to accomplish the same end result. After a language is used for a while, people generally start to agree on the most "accepted" or common way of doing something. The term I am looking for describes the common or accepted usage of such a language.

This might be similar to colloquial, but that implies a less formal usage. Canonical might also be similar, but that also implies correct usage, not accepted usage.

To use in a sentence, "I'm familiar with the new language XYZ and all of its new syntax, but I'm interested in in the ___________ usage."

Try as I might, I just can't pick out the word I'm looking for, and Internet searches just come up with the same list of "almost" words.

  • 1
    The usual term is standard -- it's not very precise, but then neither is what it names. Dec 29, 2016 at 16:10
  • 2
    Pythonic - but that works only for one particular language. Actually, that website mentions idiomatic which might work for you.
    – Glorfindel
    Dec 29, 2016 at 16:15
  • Canonical can also be used.
    – Phil Sweet
    Dec 29, 2016 at 16:23

2 Answers 2


I believe idiomatic is the word you're looking for.

  1. ... conforming to the usual manner of expression in a language
    (from Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary via TheFreeDictionary.com)

  2. peculiar to a particular group, individual, or style
    (from m-w.com)

  • Yes, yes, yes!!! I have been struggling with writers block over that for days. Dec 29, 2016 at 16:23
  • @Edwinashworth A much more appropriate definition, thanks. I will edit that in.
    – Hellion
    Dec 29, 2016 at 18:00

Common and accepted both seem apropos ...

How about established?


established: Having been in existence for a long time and therefore recognized and generally accepted.

Example: ‘Why this was not an already established practice is a mystery to critics.’

The meaning of "for a ling time" is relative.

Your example:

"I'm familiar with the new language XYZ and all of its new syntax, but I'm interested in the established usage."

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.