phrase

1 of 2

noun

1
: a characteristic manner or style of expression : diction
2
a
: 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

2 of 2

verb

phrased; phrasing

transitive verb

1
a
: 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

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.
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
Instead, the characters say the phrase at the end of a phone call. Nicole Fallert, USA TODAY, 10 Apr. 2024 Sometimes, the phrase refers to the near term: The Fed might take longer to start cutting borrowing costs and proceed with those reductions more slowly this year. Jeanna Smialek, New York Times, 9 Apr. 2024 See all Example Sentences for phrase 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'phrase.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Noun

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

First Known Use

Noun

1530, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

1556, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of phrase was in 1530

Dictionary Entries Near phrase

Cite this Entry

“Phrase.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/phrase. Accessed 18 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

phrase

1 of 2 noun
1
: a brief expression
especially : one commonly used
2
: a small unit of a musical passage usually several measures long
3
: a group of two or more words that express a single idea but do not form a complete sentence
"out the door" in "they ran out the door" is a phrase
phrasal
ˈfrā-zəl
adjective
phrasally
-zə-lē
adverb

phrase

2 of 2 verb
phrased; phrasing
1
: to express in words
2
: to divide into musical phrases

More from Merriam-Webster on phrase

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