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

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo suggested a phrasing that combined the U.S. and North Korean interpretations. Mira Rapp-hooper, Washington Post, "The Singapore summit’s three big takeaways," 12 June 2018 But that phrasing seems carefully chosen—and mirrors his comments in the indictment of the Internet Research Agency about the limits of that indictment. Garrett M. Graff, WIRED, "Indicting 12 Russian Hackers Could Be Mueller's Biggest Move Yet," 13 July 2018 To borrow Haley’s phrasing, the president’s policies abroad and at home make a mockery of human rights. Trudy Rubin,, "U.S. withdrawal from U.N. Human Rights Council reflects Trump hypocrisy | Trudy Rubin," 20 June 2018 Ted Kennedy read from the 1966 speech, adding his own phrasing in spots. Katie Mettler, Washington Post, "‘Those he touched’: Ted Kennedy’s heartbreaking eulogy for his slain brother, Bobby," 8 June 2018 That phrasing signals a possible willingness by the conservatives to bundle spending bills together. Tribune News Service,, "Bill Cassidy, John Kennedy join GOP colleagues urging Senate to skip August recess," 15 May 2018 The textural clarity evident in the orchestra’s response to his flexible phrasing rebuked those who would accuse Schumann of being a weak orchestrator. John Von Rhein,, "CSO under Kent Nagano delivers a snazzy slice of vintage Bernstein," 30 Mar. 2018 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

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

7 Nov 2018

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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

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a private place of worship

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