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WordReference Random House Learner's Dictionary of American English © 2016
phrase /freɪz/USA pronunciation
n., v., phrased, phras•ing. WordReference Random House Unabridged Dictionary of American English © 2016
v. [~ + object]
- 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.
- a characteristic, popular, or well-known expression:That tune had some catchy phrases in it.
- a brief statement or remark.
- Music and Dancea division or part of a piece of music, commonly a passage of four or eight measures.
- to express or say (something) in a particular way:Let me phrase it this way: Your services are no longer needed at this company.
(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.
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.
a characteristic, current, or proverbial expression:a hackneyed phrase.
Music and Dance[Music.]a division of a composition, commonly a passage of four or eight measures, forming part of a period.
a way of speaking, mode of expression, or phraseology:a book written in the phrase of the West.
a brief utterance or remark:In a phrase, he's a dishonest man.
Music and Dance[Dancing.]a sequence of motions making up part of a choreographic pattern.
- (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.
- to express or word in a particular way:to phrase an apology well.
- to express in words:to phrase one's thoughts.
- to mark off or bring out the phrases of (a piece), esp. in execution.
- to group (notes) into a phrase.
- Music and Dance[Music.]to perform a passage or piece with proper phrasing.
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);
- 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
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
- a group of words forming an immediate syntactic constituent of a clause
- a small group of notes forming a coherent unit of melody
Etymology: 16th Century: from Latin phrasis, from Greek: speech, from phrazein to declare, tell
- to divide (a melodic line, part, etc) into musical phrases, esp in performance
- to express orally or in a phrase
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