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 idiomatic (audio) \ adverb
idiomaticness \ ˌi-​dē-​ə-​ˈma-​tik-​nəs How to pronounce idiomatic (audio) \ noun

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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 Hemingway and Twain had much in common: sons of the Midwest (Illinois and Missouri, respectively); masters of idiomatic American English; fashioners, and prisoners, of an outsize persona., 31 Mar. 2021 Some credit must go to Megan McDowell, who has translated both of Enriquez’s collections into excellent English, nimbly switching from the lyrical to the idiomatic, the metaphysical to the obscene. Francine Prose, The New York Review of Books, 23 Mar. 2021 Langlois de Swarte and Williencourt deliver an idiomatic performance, with a warmly singing violin line poised above cleanly articulated piano textures. Alex Ross, The New Yorker, 15 Mar. 2021 The traditional idiomatic wisdom that ‘muchas manos en la olla echan el guiso a perder’ - analogized to ‘too many cooks spoiling the broth’ – has been abandoned in favor of more collaborative and integrated models of healthcare delivery. David Walcott, Forbes, 1 Mar. 2021 Conductor Chen led the Sinfonietta’s wind quintet in an idiomatic reading that captured the rhythmic charm and lyric elegance of Piazzolla’s original. Howard Reich,, 18 Oct. 2020 Pevear and Volokhonsky take strange pains to avoid idiomatic language, giving the prose an awkward formality. New York Times, 14 Apr. 2020 Performances are assured and idiomatic throughout the collection. Tim Diovanni, Dallas News, 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, 14 Apr. 2020

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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The first known use of idiomatic was in 1712

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Cite this Entry

“Idiomatic.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Jul. 2021.

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Nglish: Translation of idiomatic for Spanish Speakers


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