para·​phrase | \ ˈper-ə-ˌfrāz How to pronounce paraphrase (audio) , ˈpa-rə- \

Essential Meaning of paraphrase

: a statement that says something that another person has said or written in a different way This is just a paraphrase of what he said, not an exact quote.

Full Definition of paraphrase

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a restatement of a text, passage, or work giving the meaning in another form The teacher asked the students to write a paraphrase of the poem.
2 : the use or process of paraphrasing in studying or teaching composition paraphrase, which aims rather at recapturing the general impression of a foreign workTimes Literary Supplement


paraphrased; paraphrasing

Definition of paraphrase (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

: to make a paraphrase

transitive verb

: to make a paraphrase of

Other Words from paraphrase


paraphrasable \ ˌper-​ə-​ˈfrā-​zə-​bəl How to pronounce paraphrase (audio) , ˌpa-​rə-​ \ adjective
paraphraser noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for paraphrase

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Noun

Antonyms: Verb

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When we paraphrase, we provide a version that can exist beside the original (rather than replace it). We paraphrase all the time. When you tell a friend what someone else has said, you're almost always paraphrasing, since you're not repeating the exact words. If you go to hear a talk, you might paraphrase the speaker's main points afterward for your friends. And when writing a paper on a short story, you might start off your essay with a paraphrase of the plot. Paraphrasing is especially useful when dealing with poetry, since poetic language is often difficult and poems may have meanings that are hard to pin down.

Examples of paraphrase in a Sentence

Noun This is just a paraphrase of what he said, not an exact quote. your essays on human rights should have some original thought and not be simply a paraphrase of what's in the textbook Verb I'm paraphrasing, but he did say something like that. could you paraphrase your diagnosis of my medical condition, using simpler language?
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun To share another paraphrase of Marous, data and how it is used creates the foundation of a strong financial relationship in today’s world. Monica Hovsepian, Forbes, 5 Jan. 2022 If, as Flannery O’Connor once said, a good story resists paraphrase, then The Chair is well on its way to earning such a distinction. Roxanne Fequiere, Vulture, 1 Sep. 2021 That heading is a paraphrase of something Gertrude Stein said about the difference between poetry and prose. New York Times, 15 July 2021 Rather than a paraphrase of the much earlier and much less certain quote of abolitionist minster, Theordore Parker. Alexander Finlayson, Forbes, 7 Apr. 2021 Forgive the WandaVision paraphrase, but the first full trailer for HBO's Tina documentary shows that Tina Turner's greatest success came after enduring a famously abusive relationship that was the worst part of her life., 10 Mar. 2021 All were drawn together by a continuous colonnade, culminating at one end in Jefferson’s great rotunda, a paraphrase of the Roman Pantheon that served as the university library. Michael J. Lewis, WSJ, 14 Oct. 2020 That’s a deft paraphrase of an old Greek mythic principle: Oblos (great wealth) leads to hubris (pride), inevitably followed by the goddess Nemesis (retribution). Ralph Benko, Fortune, 27 Sep. 2020 Alvim, a born-again Christian who found renewed faith while recovering from cancer, delivered a separate message about the initiative using a phrase that local media identified as a paraphrase of a 1933 speech by Goebbels. Washington Post, 18 Jan. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb To paraphrase Raymond Chandler, down these mean streets a G-man must go who is not himself mean. Jim Higgins, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 28 Nov. 2021 Well, to paraphrase George Bernard Shaw, the angels will weep for them. Detroit Free Press, 27 Nov. 2021 But slicing and dicing the pandemic into red states and blue states, to paraphrase Biden's former boss, might be counterproductive. W. James Antle Iii, The Week, 17 Sep. 2021 To paraphrase Winnie the Pooh, Wednesday will be windsday in much of Northeast Ohio. Cliff Pinckard, cleveland, 4 Jan. 2022 As if to compensate, the stories are getting dimmer; their beautiful rooms, to paraphrase Kafka, are empty. New York Times, 30 Dec. 2021 To paraphrase Dorothy Parker, New York is nothing if not hopeful. Elise Taylor, Vogue, 28 Dec. 2021 But to paraphrase Leo Tolstoy, every unhappy family has its own story, and this one is very much worth reading. Christian Holub,, 21 Dec. 2021 To paraphrase Joan Baez, action is often the antidote to despair. Washington Post, 4 Nov. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'paraphrase.' 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 paraphrase


1548, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1598, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

History and Etymology for paraphrase

Noun and Verb

Middle French, from Latin paraphrasis, from Greek, from paraphrazein to paraphrase, from para- + phrazein to point out

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Time Traveler for paraphrase

Time Traveler

The first known use of paraphrase was in 1548

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Statistics for paraphrase

Last Updated

11 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Paraphrase.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for paraphrase


para·​phrase | \ ˈper-ə-ˌfrāz How to pronounce paraphrase (audio) \
paraphrased; paraphrasing

Kids Definition of paraphrase

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to give the meaning of in different words



Kids Definition of paraphrase (Entry 2 of 2)

: a way of stating something again by giving the meaning in different words

More from Merriam-Webster on paraphrase

Nglish: Translation of paraphrase for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of paraphrase for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about paraphrase


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