- 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
Synonyms for phrase
- music to divide (a melodic line, part, etc) into musical phrases, esp in performance
- to express orally or in a phrase
Word Origin for phrase
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.