- 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.
- Rhetoric. 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. 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.
- Dance. a sequence of motions making up part of a choreographic pattern.
- 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), especially in execution.
- to group (notes) into a phrase.
- Music. to perform a passage or piece with proper phrasing.
Origin of phrase
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for phrases
These are the phrases we want to hear from male allies across the tech industry in 2015 that show true, meaningful support.Tech’s Male ‘Feminists’ Aren’t Helping
Cate Huston, Karen Catlin
December 8, 2014
But several of these words and phrases do manage to secure an enduring place in the English language.Feminist, Bae, Turnt: Time’s ‘Worst Words’ List Is Sexist and Racist
November 13, 2014
It is refreshingly—to this reader, at least—devoid of phrases like “a new study shows” or “data now support.”
Two phrases stand out: be they who they may and broken in from the birth.
And then predictably, there was a long unprintable list of synonyms and phrases for various sex acts.How Hitch & Amis Discovered Evil In My House
September 28, 2014
Aldonza had certainly not taught him the phrases he was so fond of repeating.The Armourer's Prentices
Charlotte M. Yonge
We can not permit ourselves to be narrowed and dwarfed by slogans and phrases.
All the magical phrases in the play are phrases of jealousy, passion, and pity.
The 170 lines of it are full of phrases which might be taken direct from the sonnets.
I have used many Western phrases as necessary to the Western setting.A Woman Tenderfoot
Grace Gallatin Seton-Thompson
- music to divide (a melodic line, part, etc) into musical phrases, esp in performance
- to express orally or in a phrase
Word Origin and History for phrases
1520s, "manner or style of expression," also "group of words with some unity," from Late Latin phrasis "diction," from Greek phrasis "speech, way of speaking, enunciation, phraseology," from phrazein "to express, tell," from phrazesthai "to consider," from PIE *gwhren- "to think" (see frenetic). The musical sense of "short passage" is from 1789.
"to put into a phrase," 1560s; see phrase (n.). Related: Phrased; phrasing.