idiomatic

adjective
id·​i·​o·​mat·​ic | \ ˌi-dē-ə-ˈma-tik How to pronounce idiomatic (audio) \

Definition of idiomatic

1 : of, relating to, or conforming to idiom
2 : peculiar to a particular group, individual, or style

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Other Words from idiomatic

idiomatically \ ˌi-​dē-​ə-​ˈma-​ti-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce idiomatically (audio) \ adverb
idiomaticness \ ˌi-​dē-​ə-​ˈma-​tik-​nəs How to pronounce idiomaticness (audio) \ noun

Did You Know?

The speech and writing of a native-born English-speaker may seem crude, uneducated, and illiterate, but will almost always be idiomatic—that is, a native speaker always sounds like a native speaker. For a language learner, speaking and writing idiomatically in another language is the greatest challenge. Even highly educated foreign learners—professors, scientists, doctors, etc.—rarely succeed in mastering the kind of idiomatic English spoken by an American 7th-grader.

Examples of idiomatic in a Sentence

the new teacher's idiomatic approach to dealing with special-needs students is already showing signs of success
Recent Examples on the Web Pevear and Volokhonsky take strange pains to avoid idiomatic language, giving the prose an awkward formality. New York Times, "A ‘Full Deck’ of Chekhov, With the Translators as the Wild Cards," 14 Apr. 2020 Performances are assured and idiomatic throughout the collection. Tim Diovanni, Dallas News, "The Davin-Levin Duo’s relaxing debut album, ‘Banter,’ couldn’t have come at a better time," 22 Apr. 2020 Similarly, the Persian phrases, usually idiomatic ones, that pepper the dialogue are translated for the reader throughout the book — often, puzzlingly, by the person who just spoke them. Rebecca Makkai, New York Times, "He Tried to Change the System, Then Became It," 14 Apr. 2020 With either or both Michael Sponseller and Valenzuela on harpsichord and/or organ, their realizations were idiomatic and clean. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Review: Bach Collegium San Diego opens season with a lovely Bach cantata," 12 Oct. 2019 So did the idiomatic work of conductor Scott Speck and the Chicago Philharmonic, which elegantly handled intricate interchanges with the jazz trio. Howard Reich, chicagotribune.com, "Chicago Philharmonic review: Marcus Roberts jazzes Gershwin’s Concerto in F," 6 Dec. 2019 On cross-examination, Unsworth said his jab at Musk was just an idiomatic expression and not meant to be taken literally. CBS News, "In Elon Musk trial, cave rescuer dubbed "pedo guy" describes humiliation," 5 Dec. 2019 Alsop’s Verdi was overcharged and not altogether idiomatic, lacking Verdian flow in the interest of trying to land points at big moments. Washington Post, "BSO, after choppy summer, embraces fate and voodoo in exuberant opener," 30 Sep. 2019 Skuster, Overturf and Simmons captured the playfulness of this work, ably assisted by Ohnishi’s idiomatic continuo playing and the confident handling of the difficult continuo line by Kurtz-Harris. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Review: Symphony’s wind players shine in East County ECHO chamber recital," 29 Sep. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'idiomatic.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of idiomatic

1712, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for idiomatic

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The first known use of idiomatic was in 1712

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Last Updated

1 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Idiomatic.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/idiomatic. Accessed 9 Jul. 2020.

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More from Merriam-Webster on idiomatic

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for idiomatic

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with idiomatic

Spanish Central: Translation of idiomatic

Nglish: Translation of idiomatic for Spanish Speakers

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