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 But Justices Ricky Polston and Alan Lawson disagreed with the majority’s interpretation of the phrase. Jim Saunders, sun-sentinel.com, 7 Sep. 2021 Bryce Young, Alabama QB1 and California kid, isn’t the most valuable player in the history of college football in any kind of traditional sense of that phrase, but his checking account might disagree. Joseph Goodman | Jgoodman@al.com, al, 1 Sep. 2021 Supporters of the phrase have also developed a philosophy that extends beyond the initial Baidu post. Sophie Jeong, CNN, 28 Aug. 2021 Ever since the mention of the phrase at the December meeting, China’s overhaul of the tech and education sector has accelerated, and as a result, shaken up the ranks of the billionaires wielding this capital. Mary Hui, Quartz, 24 Aug. 2021 Across eight different social media platforms—YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Weibo, WeChat, Bilibili, Douyin—there have been more than 56,300 uses of the phrase. Matt Burgess, Wired, 18 Aug. 2021 The American business system is sustained by many imaginative turns of phrase that tell us that our working lives, which are generally boring, hot, tiring, frustrating, and painful, are actually a theater of weightless magic and artistic whimsy. John Patrick Leary, The New Republic, 6 Aug. 2021 Turns of phrase are not relegated to descriptions but rather left to the voices, quick dialogue pinging back and forth like a rapid table-tennis volley. cleveland, 2 Aug. 2021 Herlihy’s the meticulous one who always finds the weirdest turn of phrase for a character, Marshall’s the unifier who keeps them all on track, and Higgins is the affable wild card, happy to stick to joke pitching and acting. Rebecca Alter, Vulture, 19 July 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb So how did the name or phrase Black Twitter even come to be? Wired Staff, Wired, 6 Aug. 2021 This became my go-to phrase for much of our journey. Jean Trinh, Los Angeles Times, 11 June 2021 Board members struggled with the proper way to phrase language allowing for sports-team flags or other flags without a political message. Jr Radcliffe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 8 June 2021 Please phrase your speculation in the form of a question. Stokes: Poor guy. Nate Davis, USA TODAY, 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, 15 Apr. 2021 The winsome discussion details how to phrase an issue positively versus accusatory. Expert Panel®, Forbes, 15 Apr. 2021 Please phrase your answer in the form of a question. John Anderson, WSJ, 31 Mar. 2021 Some examples: the actor may not know the proper delivery or how to phrase an inside joke. Chris Bumbaca, USA TODAY, 17 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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Learn More About phrase

Dictionary Entries Near phrase

phrasal verb

phrase

phrase book

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Statistics for phrase

Last Updated

17 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Phrase.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/phrase. Accessed 24 Sep. 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
: 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.

More from Merriam-Webster on phrase

Nglish: Translation of phrase for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of phrase for Arabic Speakers

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