phrase

noun
\ˈfrāz \

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

expression, idiom

Synonyms: Verb

articulate, clothe, couch, express, formulate, put, say, state, word

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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

The January 2005 Ken Burns documentary that borrowed Du Bois’s memorable phrase — Unforgivable Blackness — for its title further pushed Johnson’s case into the public eye. Matthew Yglesias, Vox, "Donald Trump’s posthumous pardon of boxing champion Jack Johnson, explained," 24 May 2018 There was a softening to some of the language, occasionally vivid turns of phrase, and, more generally, a wistfulness that had been absent during our first screen-to-screen conversations in the summer. Daniel Riley, GQ, "The Great High School Impostor," 1 May 2018 The phrase both references how soccer as a sport originated in England and a song written back in the ’60s when England was in the European Championship. Alexia Fernandez, PEOPLE.com, "Prince William Cheers Up England Soccer Team After Their World Cup Loss Against Croatia," 12 July 2018 Normally, closed caption subtitling bleeps words in a variety of different ways: phrases, such as (bleep), [expletive], or [censored] may be used, though sometimes hyphens or asterisks are substituted instead (f–k, f---, or f*** are all examples. Ace Ratcliff, SELF, "I Rely On Closed Captions to Enjoy a Show And I Don't Appreciate Netflix's Way of Censoring Them," 10 July 2018 As of today, his mantra might as well include a new phrase: one man. The Economist, "Turkey’s president sweeps the board and assumes greater powers," 25 June 2018 In addition, the catch phrases, mottos, and terminology used in CPI’s training courses are more than just words. Crisis Prevention Institute, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Crisis Prevention Institute seeks out employees who care," 21 June 2018 The patent black bottle is shaped like a word bubble with the phrase Vibes splashed across the front. Jenna Rosenstein, Harper's BAZAAR, "Kim Kardashian Is Dropping Three New Perfumes Inspired By Her Kimojis," 9 July 2018 During a June 19 interview on Fox News, Lewandowski responded to an anecdote about a 10-year-old girl with Down syndrome who'd been separated from her mother at the border with the same phrase. Tim Stelloh /, NBC News, "Armed heckler arrested at 'Keep Families Together' rally in Alabama," 2 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Why do people respond so differently depending on how a question is phrased? Eric Vanepps, Time, "The Best Way to Get People to Tell the Truth, According to Science," 11 July 2018 The trick, of course, is phrasing your command correctly and knowing that browsing and comparison shopping is impossible. Jefferson Graham, USA TODAY, "Shopping with Alexa on Amazon Prime day will be hard. These tricks make it easier," 13 July 2018 Robert: Keep a close ear and eye on how Bill Bradford phrases his answers in the police interview. Dateline Nbc, NBC News, "At the Desk of: Robert Dean, Dateline Producer of ‘The Threat’," 6 July 2018 The piano part — clearly articulated and sensitively phrased by Anne-Marie McDermott — is not overly virtuosic but delights in its unexpected wanderings. Christian Hertzog, sandiegouniontribune.com, "A rare, fiery performance of a Rebel ballet kicks off Mainly Mozart Festival," 10 June 2018 All that was left was to figure out creative language for how that constraint would be phrased that everyone could support. Josh Lederman, Fox News, "Behind the scenes of Trump's decision to abandon Iran deal," 11 May 2018 Or, phrased another way, the multiverse represents the end of science. Brian Resnick, Vox, "Stephen Hawking’s final paper makes a hopeful case for the limits of existence," 3 May 2018 All are expected to want a voice in Republican strategy for Mr. Trump in the midterms, adding only more chaos, as one White House official phrased it, to an already unruly presidency. Jonathan Martin, Alexander Burns And Maggie Haberman, New York Times, "Trump’s Role in Midterm Elections Roils Republicans," 28 Apr. 2018 The film praises his timing, phrasing, producing skills and dynamic style. Hal Boedeker, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Elvis Presley: HBO film salutes NBC special," 6 Apr. 2018

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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Phrases Related to phrase

prepositional phrase

turn of phrase

Statistics for phrase

Last Updated

17 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for phrase

The first known use of phrase was in 1530

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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 \

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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Comments on phrase

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