phrase

[ freyz ]
/ freɪz /

noun

verb (used with object), phrased, phras·ing.

verb (used without object), phrased, phras·ing.

Music. to perform a passage or piece with proper phrasing.

Origin of phrase

1520–30; (noun) back formation from phrases, plural of earlier phrasis < Latin phrasis diction, style (plural phrasēs) < Greek phrásis diction, style, speech, equivalent to phrá(zein) to speak + -sis -sis; (v.) derivative of the noun

SYNONYMS FOR phrase

1 Phrase, expression, idiom, locution all refer to grammatically related groups of words. A phrase is a sequence of two or more words that make up a grammatical construction, usually lacking a finite verb and hence not a complete clause or sentence: shady lane (a noun phrase); at the bottom (a prepositional phrase); very slowly (an adverbial phrase). In general use, phrase refers to any frequently repeated or memorable group of words, usually of less than sentence length or complexity: a case of feast or famine—to use the well-known phrase. Expression is the most general of these words and may refer to a word, a phrase, or even a sentence: prose filled with old-fashioned expressions. An idiom is a phrase or larger unit of expression that is peculiar to a single language or a variety of a language and whose meaning, often figurative, cannot easily be understood by combining the usual meanings of its individual parts, as to go for broke. Locution is a somewhat formal term for a word, a phrase, or an expression considered as peculiar to or characteristic of a regional or social dialect or considered as a sample of language rather than as a meaning-bearing item: a unique set of locutions heard only in the mountainous regions of the South.

OTHER WORDS FROM phrase

mis·phrase, verb (used with object), mis·phrased, mis·phras·ing.un·phrased, adjective

WORDS THAT MAY BE CONFUSED WITH phrase

frays phrase (see synonym study at the current entry)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for phrases

British Dictionary definitions for phrases

phrase
/ (freɪz) /

noun

a group of words forming an immediate syntactic constituent of a clauseCompare clause (def. 1), noun phrase, verb phrase
a particular expression, esp an original one
music a small group of notes forming a coherent unit of melody
(in choreography) a short sequence of dance movements

verb (tr)

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

C16: from Latin phrasis, from Greek: speech, from phrazein to declare, tell
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

Culture definitions for phrases

phrase

A group of grammatically connected words within a sentence: “One council member left in a huff”; “She got much satisfaction from planting daffodil bulbs.” Unlike clauses, phrases do not have both a subject and a predicate.

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.