phras·​ing | \ ˈfrā-ziŋ How to pronounce phrasing (audio) \

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 Dylan’s vocal phrasing, always careful, felt particularly mesmeric. Amanda Petrusich, The New Yorker, "Bob Dylan’s “Rough and Rowdy Ways” Hits Hard," 17 June 2020 In the following days, hundreds of companies, sports teams, and celebrities followed suit with posts of their own, many of them nearly identical in their vague phrasing and awkward execution. Amanda Mull, The Atlantic, "Corporate America Is Ready to Take Action ... Or Something," 3 June 2020 Trump’s phrasing highlights the buildup of China-U.S. tensions amid the pandemic. Andrew Joseph, STAT, "Trump: U.S. will terminate relationship with the World Health Organization in wake of Covid-19 pandemic," 29 May 2020 Such phrasing casts no aspersions on those temporary residents who pay local property... WSJ, "That Home Away From Home in Virus Times," 26 Apr. 2020 Gently propulsive phrasing preserved the momentum of the main melody, and the development section contained almost as much drama as a scene from one of the composer’s operas. Zachary Lewis, cleveland, "Cleveland Orchestra guests put welcome personal stamps on well-known Beethoven, Mozart," 14 Feb. 2020 In the fifties and early sixties, Mobley’s sound was velvety and enveloping but frank and unmannered; his warm energy, lyrical phrasing, wry wit, and melodic heartiness drew richly on the blues. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, "The Haunted Jazz of Hank Mobley," 25 Mar. 2020 Analysts and investors said that a decision to remove the phrasing could suggest the Fed is nearing the conclusion of its interest-rate increases. Daniel Kruger, WSJ, "U.S. Dollar Edges Higher After Fed Removes Signal," 26 Sep. 2018 That formative experience clearly left an imprint on his soulful vocal phrasing. Ed Masley, azcentral, "It should've been Sugaray Rayford's best year yet. Then coronavirus changed everything," 4 May 2020

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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Time Traveler for phrasing

Time Traveler

The first known use of phrasing was in 1611

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Statistics for phrasing

Last Updated

1 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Phrasing.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for phrasing


How to pronounce phrasing (audio)

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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More from Merriam-Webster on phrasing

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for phrasing

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with phrasing

Nglish: Translation of phrasing for Spanish Speakers

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