phrase

noun
\ ˈfrāz How to pronounce phrase (audio) \

Definition of phrase

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a characteristic manner or style of expression : diction
2a : a brief expression especially : catchphrase
b : word
3 : a short musical thought typically two to four measures long closing with a cadence
4 : a word or group of words forming a syntactic constituent with a single grammatical function an adverbial phrase
5 : a series of dance movements comprising a section of a pattern

phrase

verb
phrased; phrasing

Definition of phrase (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to express in words or in appropriate or telling terms
b : to designate by a descriptive word or phrase
2 : to divide into melodic phrases

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Synonyms for phrase

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

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Examples of phrase in a Sentence

Noun Answer the questions in complete sentences, not phrases. She used the phrase “I strongly believe” too many times in her speech. Underline the key words or phrases in the paragraph. To borrow a phrase from my mother, I spend too much time “watching the boob tube” and not enough time outside. Verb He phrased his version of the story in a way that made him look good. The question was awkwardly phrased. The singer phrased the music beautifully.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Twitter banned the term from its trending topics section, but only hours after the phrase had been front and center on the social media website. Houston Keene, Fox News, "Texas Dem official faces demands to resign for calling Tim Scott 'an oreo'," 1 May 2021 Thanks to Big Easy, Copper gets their phrase quickly, securing a first-place lead immediately. Sydney Bucksbaum, EW.com, "The Challenge: All Stars recap: Double elimination twist knocks out two favorites," 30 Apr. 2021 The phrase was a key element at trial because Chauvin was authorized to use force as long as that force would be considered reasonable by an objective officer in the same situation. Amy Forliti, Star Tribune, "Key moments in closing arguments of Chauvin trial," 24 Apr. 2021 The phrase is a reference to the number of votes needed for a majority on the City Council. Everton Bailey Jr., Dallas News, "Mayor Eric Johnson backs opponent in City Council race over incumbent Adam Bazaldua," 19 Apr. 2021 Just talking about this makes him — what was his phrase? Jessica Goldstein, Vulture, "Made for Love Season-Finale Recap: Bring It on Home to Me," 15 Apr. 2021 Similar in gameplay to Cards Against Humanity, one player draws an accent card, while the rest take turns reading their phrase aloud (in said accent). Isabelle Kagan, USA TODAY, "10 board games and game night activities that are actually fun," 7 Apr. 2021 The anonymous note used a phrase popularized by former President Trump. oregonlive, "David Douglas School Board candidate says she received racist note targeting Asians," 31 Mar. 2021 The other question asked about the effectiveness of the Democratic case against Trump and used a phrase spoken by Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz. Paul Bedard, Washington Examiner, "Extreme division on Trump impeachment trial," 16 Feb. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Please phrase your speculation in the form of a question. Stokes: Poor guy. Nate Davis, USA TODAY, "NFL draft winners, losers of Round 1: From Trevor Lawrence to Mac Jones, QBs reign," 30 Apr. 2021 Often the least abrasive way of bringing up potentially negative feedback is to phrase it in the form of a legitimate question. Expert Panel®, Forbes, "14 Tactful Ways To Voice Concerns About Corporate Messaging," 15 Apr. 2021 The winsome discussion details how to phrase an issue positively versus accusatory. Expert Panel®, Forbes, "12 Essential Tips For Communicating About Current Events," 15 Apr. 2021 Please phrase your answer in the form of a question. John Anderson, WSJ, "What Is...‘Jeopardy!’ Without Alex Trebek?," 31 Mar. 2021 Some examples: the actor may not know the proper delivery or how to phrase an inside joke. Chris Bumbaca, USA TODAY, "Rob Riggle on the best Kansas win he ever saw and how you can (safely) talk trash this March Madness," 17 Mar. 2021 Dolphins fans wanting to turn Monday into a sign of being smart might want to re-phrase that. Dave Hyde, sun-sentinel.com, "Hyde: Dolphins sit still, Patriots are big (heh-heh) winners as free agency starts | Commentary," 15 Mar. 2021 Lawmakers rarely phrase things so bluntly, but those are the implications of a pivot in American economic policy over the last year, culminating with the Biden administration’s $1.9 trillion pandemic relief bill. Neil Irwin, New York Times, "Move Over, Nerds. It’s the Politicians’ Economy Now.," 9 Mar. 2021 Same goes if a student texts a word or phrase the bot recognizes as a red flag, like a question about how to withdraw or thoughts about self-harm. Nina Agrawal, Los Angeles Times, "Artificial intelligence meets real friendship: College students are bonding with robots," 9 Mar. 2021

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

Noun

1530, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

1556, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for phrase

Noun

Latin phrasis, from Greek, from phrazein to point out, explain, tell

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Statistics for phrase

Last Updated

8 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Phrase.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/phrase. Accessed 18 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for phrase

phrase

noun

English Language Learners Definition of phrase

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a group of two or more words that express a single idea but do not usually form a complete sentence
: a brief expression that is commonly used
music : a short section of a longer piece of music

phrase

verb

English Language Learners Definition of phrase (Entry 2 of 2)

: to say (something) in a particular way
: to perform (a piece of music) with the notes grouped together in a particular way

phrase

noun
\ ˈfrāz How to pronounce phrase (audio) \

Kids Definition of phrase

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a group of two or more words that express a single idea but do not form a complete sentence The group of words “out the door” in “they ran out the door” is a phrase.
2 : a brief expression that is commonly used

phrase

verb
phrased; phrasing

Kids Definition of phrase (Entry 2 of 2)

: to express in words The boy was unable to phrase his idea.

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