- 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 for phrase on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for phrase
This same outlet worked the phrase “engagement to toyboy lover” into the headline of their article on Fry.Freaking Out About Age Gaps in Gay Relationships Is Homophobic
January 9, 2015
I admit, I chuckled when I read the phrase “boomtown effects” in the New York report.New York’s Conservative Fracking Ban
December 20, 2014
But the phrase “made it” does not properly describe Pomplamoose.How Much Money Does a Band Really Make on Tour?
December 8, 2014
Interpreted more broadly, the phrase loses meaning: what constitutes the necessary threshold of realism?The Birth of the Novel
November 27, 2014
The phrase of choice to describe Rampal is “self-styled god-man,” which has been repeated ad nauseam in the press.Is India’s Fallen ‘God-Man’ So Different From a Megachurch Pastor?
November 21, 2014
This was her phrase for having entered on the dominions of England.Harriet, The Moses of Her People
Sarah H. Bradford
You might have helped me to a phrase—A conditional kind of liking!Clarissa, Volume 1 (of 9)
Having grasped a principle, we phrase it in the language of our time.The Conquest of Fear
It is the phrase they always use, and the expression has the perfect wisdom of love in it.De Profundis
The phrase has haunted me since I heard it, less than an hour ago.In the Midst of Alarms
- 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 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.