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WordReference Random House Learner's Dictionary of American English © 2016
phrase /freɪz/USA pronunciation   n., v., phrased, phras•ing. 

n. [countable]
  1. Grammara group of two or more words constituting a grammatical unit and lacking a finite verb or a subject and verb:A phrase can be a preposition and a noun or pronoun, an adjective and a noun, or an adverb and a verb, but it is not a clause and is not a sentence.
  2. a characteristic, popular, or well-known expression:That tune had some catchy phrases in it.
  3. a brief statement or remark.
  4. Music and Dancea division or part of a piece of music, commonly a passage of four or eight measures.

v. [+ object]
  1. to express or say (something) in a particular way:Let me phrase it this way: Your services are no longer needed at this company.

WordReference Random House Unabridged Dictionary of American English © 2016
phrase  (frāz), 
n., v., phrased, phras•ing. 

      • a sequence of two or more words arranged in a grammatical construction and acting as a unit in a sentence.
      • (in English) a sequence of two or more words that does not contain a finite verb and its subject or that does not consist of clause elements such as subject, verb, object, or complement, as a preposition and a noun or pronoun, an adjective and noun, or an adverb and verb.
  1. Rhetoric[Rhet.]a word or group of spoken words that the mind focuses on momentarily as a meaningful unit and is preceded and followed by pauses.
  2. a characteristic, current, or proverbial expression:a hackneyed phrase.
  3. Music and Dance[Music.]a division of a composition, commonly a passage of four or eight measures, forming part of a period.
  4. a way of speaking, mode of expression, or phraseology:a book written in the phrase of the West.
  5. a brief utterance or remark:In a phrase, he's a dishonest man.
  6. Music and Dance[Dancing.]a sequence of motions making up part of a choreographic pattern.

  1. to express or word in a particular way:to phrase an apology well.
  2. to express in words:to phrase one's thoughts.
  3. [Music.]
      • to mark off or bring out the phrases of (a piece), esp. in execution.
      • to group (notes) into a phrase.

  1. Music and Dance[Music.]to perform a passage or piece with proper phrasing.
  • Greek phrásis diction, style, speech, equivalent. to phrá(zein) to speak + -sis -sis; (verb, verbal) derivative of the noun, nominal
  • Latin phrasis diction, style (plural phrasēs)
  • (noun, nominal) back formation from phrases, plural of earlier phrasis 1520–30
1 . Phrase, expression, idiom, locution all refer to grammatically related groups of words. A phrase is a sequence of two or more words that make up a grammatical construction, usually lacking a finite verb and hence not a complete clause or sentence:shady lane(a noun phrase); at the bottom (a prepositional phrase);
very slowly (an adverbial phrase). In general use, phrase refers to any frequently repeated or memorable group of words, usually of less than sentence length or complexity:a case of feast or famine--to use the well-known phrase.Expression is the most general of these words and may refer to a word, a phrase, or even a sentence:prose filled with old-fashioned expressions.An idiom is a phrase or larger unit of expression that is peculiar to a single language or a variety of a language and whose meaning, often figurative, cannot easily be understood by combining the usual meanings of its individual parts, as to go for broke. Locution is a somewhat formal term for a word, a phrase, or an expression considered as peculiar to or characteristic of a regional or social dialect or considered as a sample of language rather than as a meaning-bearing item:a unique set of locutions heard only in the mountainous regions of the South.

Collins Concise English Dictionary © HarperCollins Publishers::

phrase /freɪz/ n
  1. a group of words forming an immediate syntactic constituent of a clause
    Compare clause
  2. a small group of notes forming a coherent unit of melody
vb (transitive)
  1. to divide (a melodic line, part, etc) into musical phrases, esp in performance
  2. to express orally or in a phrase
Etymology: 16th Century: from Latin phrasis, from Greek: speech, from phrazein to declare, tell

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