| Definition -
A person who studies language, usually professionally (e.g. a linguistics professor at a university).
1. They used to be called philologists.
Etymology - When it entered English circa 1588, the word denoted "a master of language" or "one who uses his tongue freely." It derives from the Latin lingua, language or tongue. The sense "a student of language" is first attested by the OED in 1641 (see below).
Oxford English Dictionary - Its first citation is from 1641:
"Many of the other [words] … are of such secret Sense, as I think no Linguist can discover."
(Wilkins Mercury iii. (1707) 12 )