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

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?
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The third section is a paraphrase of archaeologist Howard Carter describing his experience in 1922 of peering through an opening to discover King Tut’s tomb. A.j. Jacobs, WSJ, 23 Apr. 2022 That's a paraphrase of a line usually attributed to military strategist Sun-Tzu. Damon Linker, The Week, 1 Mar. 2022 In paraphrase, analysts at the firm reasoned that neither Covid-19, nor the ruinous 9.9% contraction experienced by the United Kingdom, were necessarily the actual problem. Will Nicoll, Forbes, 22 Jan. 2022 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 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb To paraphrase Gertrude Stein, one wonders if there is a there there. Mosi Reeves, Rolling Stone, 9 May 2022 To paraphrase Ian Fleming: To read one good book is happenstance; two is coincidence; three is wild good fortune. New York Times, 4 Apr. 2022 To ring in this momentous occasion, Vogue staffers got to talking about the Girls moments that have haunted us delightfully (to paraphrase Little Women) ever since the show first aired. Emma Specter, Vogue, 11 Apr. 2022 Now, to paraphrase Mr. Muravchik, the U.S. must step up and sustain and nurture the liberal world order. WSJ, 5 Apr. 2022 To paraphrase one of the script’s more vulgar ruminations, however, the world doesn’t care about our good intentions, dreams and hopes. Michael Nordine, Variety, 27 Jan. 2022 To paraphrase the late, great André Leon Talley, in a red-carpet landscape that so often seemed like a famine of beauty (and innovation, and risk-taking), here, at last, was a feast. Emma Specter, Vogue, 28 Mar. 2022 Because, to paraphrase Samuel Johnson, there’s nothing like a crisis to concentrate the mind. Michael Lynch, Forbes, 7 Mar. 2022 To paraphrase fellow nominee Denzel Washington, who tried to calm an overwrought Smith, the devil doesn’t just come for a person during their highest moment, the devil is always lurking. Washington Post, 29 Mar. 2022 See More

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.

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

29 Apr 2022

Cite this Entry

“Paraphrase.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 May. 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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