phrase


phrase
phrase, idiom, expression, locution mean a group of words which, taken together, express a notion and may be used as a part of a sentence.
Phrase may apply to a group of words which for one reason or another recurs frequently (as in the language of a people, the writings of an author or school of authors, or the speech of a person or a clique of persons). Sometimes the word means little more than this
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this phrase, a priori, is in common most grossly misunderstood— Southey

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but more often it suggests a distinctive character, such as triteness
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to use the phrase of all who ever wrote upon the state of Europe, the political horizon is dark indeed— Cowper

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or pithiness or pointedness
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I summed up all systems in a phraseWilde

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"You don't understand a young philosopher," said the Baronet. "A young philosopher's an old fool!" returned Hippias, not thinking that his growl had begotten a phraseMeredith

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In the combinations "noun phrase" and "verb phrase" it suggests one of the principal parts of a sentence.
Idiom (see also LANGUAGE 1) applies to a combination of word elements which is peculiar to the language in which it occurs either in its grammatical structure or in the meaning which is associated with it but which cannot be derived from it when the elements are interpreted literally; thus, "to keep house," "to catch cold," "to strike a bargain" are examples of idioms.
Expression and locution are sometimes used in place of phrase when the idea of a way of expressing oneself is uppermost. Although both terms may be applied to phrases that are generally current, they are perhaps more typically applied to those that are idiosyncratic. Expression is particularly used when accompanied by a characterizing adjective or clause or phrase
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he is in the habit of using telling expressions

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that is a very odd expression

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an expression that has gone out of use

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Locution is somewhat more bookish than expression and is therefore often preferred when the reference is to phrases that are peculiar to a language or a group as an idiom
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a pet locution of the author

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Carlyle and Carlylese were to leave their traces. Even the style of Thoreau was to be tinged faintly here and there with the rhythms and locutions of a writer whom lesser minds could not resist— Brooks

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New Dictionary of Synonyms. 2014.

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  • phrase — [ fraz ] n. f. • 1546; lat. phrasis, mot gr. « élocution » 1 ♦ Vx Tour, expression. « Les synonymes sont plusieurs dictions [façons de dire] ou plusieurs phrases différentes qui signifient une même chose » (La Bruyère). 2 ♦ Mod., Plur. Faire des… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • phrasé — phrase [ fraz ] n. f. • 1546; lat. phrasis, mot gr. « élocution » 1 ♦ Vx Tour, expression. « Les synonymes sont plusieurs dictions [façons de dire] ou plusieurs phrases différentes qui signifient une même chose » (La Bruyère). 2 ♦ Mod., Plur.… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • -phrase — ⇒ PHRASE, PHRASTIQUE, élém. formant Élém. entrant dans la constr. d un certain nombre de termes de ling. ou de rhét., qui peuvent générer des adj. dér. en phrastique. A. [Au sens anc. de phrase (v. ce mot I A) «expression, locution»]: métaphrase …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Phrase — Phrase, n. [F., fr. L. phrasis diction, phraseology, Gr. ?, fr. ? to speak.] 1. A brief expression, sometimes a single word, but usually two or more words forming an expression by themselves, or being a portion of a sentence; as, an adverbial… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Phrasé — (solfège) Dans la musique occidentale, le phrasé indique la façon d exécuter les différentes phrases musicales. Des silences écrits séparent souvent les phrases successives, et même parfois, les divers motifs de chaque phrase, mais ce n est pas… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • phrase — PHRASE. s. f. Façon de parler, Assemblage de mots sous une certaine construction. Phrase ordinaire, populaire. phrase figurée, recherchée. bonne phrase. mauvaise phrase. phrase reguliere, irreguliere …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie française

  • phrasé — phrasé, ée (fra zé, zée) part. passé de phraser. 1°   Coupé par phrases. Style phrasé, bien phrasé. 2°   Se dit, dans un sens analogue, de la musique. •   On commence à sentir que le charme de l air, phrasé à l italienne, manque à la scène de l… …   Dictionnaire de la Langue Française d'Émile Littré

  • Phrase — Sf std. (16. Jh.) Entlehnung. Entlehnt aus l. phrasis rednerische Ausdrucksweise, Diktion, Stil , dieses aus gr. phrásis das Reden, Ausdrucksweise , zu gr. phrázein deutlich machen, kundtun, sagen, sprechen . Zunächst wertfrei Redewendung,… …   Etymologisches Wörterbuch der deutschen sprache

  • Phrase — Phrase, v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Phrased}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Phrasing}.] [Cf. F. phraser.] To express in words, or in peculiar words; to call; to style. These suns for so they phrase em. Shak. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Phrase — Phrase, v. i. 1. To use proper or fine phrases. [R.] [1913 Webster] 2. (Mus.) To group notes into phrases; as, he phrases well. See {Phrase}, n., 4. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English