[hol-uh-fras-tik, hoh-luh-]
  1. using or consisting of a single word that functions as a phrase or sentence.
  2. characterized by holophrasis; polysynthetic: a holophrastic language.

Origin of holophrastic

1855–60; holo- + -phrastic; see periphrastic
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for holophrastic

Historical Examples of holophrastic

British Dictionary definitions for holophrastic


  1. denoting the stage in a child's acquisition of syntax when most utterances are single words
  2. (of languages) tending to express in one word what would be expressed in several words in other languages; polysynthetic

Word Origin for holophrastic

C19: from holo- + Greek phrastikos expressive, from phrazein to express
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for holophrastic

1837, from holo- + Greek phrastikos, from phrazein "to indicate, tell, express" (see phrase (n.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper