ho·​lo·​phras·​tic ˌhō-lə-ˈfra-stik How to pronounce holophrastic (audio)
: expressing a complex of ideas in a single word or in a fixed phrase

Word History


holo- + -phrastic (as in paraphrastic, periphrastic)

Note: Word apparently coined by the German-American educator and political philosopher Francis Lieber (1798 or 1800-1872) in a letter to Albert Gallatin entitled "On some subjects of comparative Philology, and the importance of the study of Foreign Languages especially of the Classic Tongues," published in the Southern Literary Messenger, vol. 3, no. 3 (March, 1837), pp. 167-68.

First Known Use

1860, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of holophrastic was in 1860

Dictionary Entries Near holophrastic

Cite this Entry

“Holophrastic.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/holophrastic. Accessed 30 Jan. 2023.

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