an expression whose meaning is not predictable from the usual meanings of its constituent elements, as kick the bucket or hang one's head, or from the general grammatical rules of a language, as the table round for the round table, and that is not a constituent of a larger expression of like characteristics.
a language, dialect, or style of speaking peculiar to a people.
a construction or expression of one language whose parts correspond to elements in another language but whose total structure or meaning is not matched in the same way in the second language.
the peculiar character or genius of a language.
a distinct style or character, in music, art, etc.: the idiom of Bach.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use idiom in a sentence
To avoid losing anything in translation, communicate concisely and avoid idioms.These Travel Apps Will Help You Get the Most Out of Your Vacation | aweinberg | October 16, 2021 | Outside Online
Most people believe the idiom “time flies when you’re having fun,” and research has, indeed, shown that when time seems to pass by quickly, people assume the task must have been engaging and enjoyable.Why Vacations Feel Like They’re Over Before They Even Start | LGBTQ-Editor | July 12, 2021 | No Straight News
The commercial, which advertises the brand’s seltzer lemonade, runs with the “when life gives you lemons” idiom, riffing off 2020 being a “lemon of a year.”The 8 best Super Bowl commercials, from an ‘Edward Scissorhands’ sequel to Michael B. Jordan’s Alexa | Sonia Rao, Maura Judkis | February 8, 2021 | Washington Post
If you love seeing people get things wrong and learning something in the process, stay tuned for this episode of, Guess That idiom.
First of all, remember that idioms or colloquialisms may make sense in one place but not in another, even if the same language is spoken.Six must-know international SEO tips to expand business | Edward Coram James | June 3, 2020 | Search Engine Watch
Later she observed that one of the most skilled in this idiom was the journalist Dorothy Parker.Tallulah Bankhead: Gay, Drunk and Liberated in an Era of Excess Art | Judith Mackrell | January 25, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
Are some jobs, to use the standard idiom, “inherently governmental?”Who Should Kill? Looking for Answers in Erik Prince’s Memoir | Brian Castner | November 22, 2013 | THE DAILY BEAST
Is ‘idiom’ enough to defend to the modern reader sentences like this?
Additionally impressive is that an Australian can write so convincingly in the idiom of a country so different from her own.
Yet he seemed interested only in recasting GOP concepts in his own idiom.Obama’s Speech Took Ideas From the GOP and Rhetoric From Madison Avenue | Lee Siegel | January 28, 2012 | THE DAILY BEAST
His musical idiom was growing richer, and music had become to him what poetry had been at Votinsk.The Life & Letters of Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky | Modeste Tchaikovsky
Lange thinks these lines corrupt; but I believe the idiom is correct.Chaucer's Works, Volume 1 (of 7) -- Romaunt of the Rose; Minor Poems | Geoffrey Chaucer
For the hospitality of England can scarcely be translated with full flavor into any other idiom.
The occasional use of the imperfect is almost his only Gaelic idiom.Angling Sketches | Andrew Lang
Accent, idiom, vocabulary give a new turn to the ancient speech.American Sketches | Charles Whibley
British Dictionary definitions for idiom
a group of words whose meaning cannot be predicted from the meanings of the constituent words, as for example (It was raining) cats and dogs
linguistic usage that is grammatical and natural to native speakers of a language
the characteristic vocabulary or usage of a specific human group or subject
the characteristic artistic style of an individual, school, period, etc
- idiomatic (ˌɪdɪəˈmætɪk) or idiomatical, adjective
- idiomatically, adverb
- idiomaticalness, noun
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
Cultural definitions for idiom
A traditional way of saying something. Often an idiom, such as “under the weather,” does not seem to make sense if taken literally. Someone unfamiliar with English idioms would probably not understand that to be “under the weather” is to be sick. (See examples under “Idioms.”)
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.