phras·ing | \ ˈfrā-ziŋ \

Definition of phrasing 

1 : style of expression : phraseology

2 : the act, method, or result of grouping notes into musical phrases

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Examples of phrasing in a Sentence

The phrasing of the instructions was confusing. a singer known for her elegant phrasing

Recent Examples on the Web

Keith Urban is a big influence, evident in Evans' tone and phrasing. Tom Roland, Billboard, "Ten New Acts Ready to Bolt From Country's Starting Gate In Last Half Of 2018," 3 July 2018 Contrarian impulses and nice phrasing keep the book interesting. Jill Leovy,, "A personal perspective on Mexico's mass exodus to the United States," 2 July 2018 The Festival Orchestra played miraculously, executing rapid passages with utmost precision and flawless phrasing. Christian Hertzog,, "Mainly Mozart Festival gives Mozart, Tchaikovsky and Stravinsky first-class treatment," 17 June 2018 And yet the piece hung together perfectly, united not only in spirit but also by the soprano's luminous voice and eloquent phrasing. Zachary Lewis,, "Apollo's Fire emerges victorious from 'Three Duels and a Wedding' (review)," 12 Feb. 2018 The White House heightened this phrasing in a news release, even as pundits like E.J. Dionne pushed back on the dangers of such language. James Martherus, Washington Post, "Trump is not the only one who calls opponents ‘animals.’ Democrats and Republicans do it to each other.," 21 May 2018 This phrasing marked a shift from previous reports, which indicated the support was in the past., "Fact-checking President Trump's reasons for leaving the Iran nuclear deal," 9 May 2018 There are obvious echoes of the singer’s legendary father in his vocals, both in terms of tone and phrasing. Ed Masley, azcentral, "Country Thunder Day 2 review: Is it weird that Jason Aldean didn’t mention Vegas?," 6 Apr. 2018 Tomlinson uses the bel canto technique, with its emphasis on breath control and smooth, connected phrasing, to guide the students. Jessica Gelt,, "Anne Tomlinson on two decades leading the Los Angeles Children's Chorus," 27 June 2018

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

1611, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Dictionary Entries near phrasing

phrase structure







Statistics for phrasing

Last Updated

12 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for phrasing

The first known use of phrasing was in 1611

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English Language Learners Definition of phrasing

: the way something is expressed in words : the particular words or the order of words that are used to express something

music : the act of grouping notes together in a particular way

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Comments on phrasing

What made you want to look up phrasing? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


occurring twice a year or every two years

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