phrase
Pronunciation Noun

phrase (plural phrases)

  1. A short written or spoken expression.
  2. (grammar) A word or group of words that functions as a single unit in the syntax of a sentence, usually consisting of a head, or central word, and elaborating words.
  3. (music) A small section of music in a larger piece.
  4. (archaic) A mode or form of speech; diction; expression.
    • 1847, Alfred Tennyson, The Princess: A Medley, London: Edward Moxon, […], OCLC 2024748 ↗, (please specify ):
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      phrases of the hearth
    • c. 1603–1606, William Shakespeare, “The Tragedie of King Lear”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358 ↗, [Act IV, scene vi]:
      Thou speak'st / In better phrase and matter than thou didst.
Synonyms Translations Translations Translations Verb

phrase (phrases, present participle phrasing; past and past participle phrased)

  1. (transitive) To express (an action, thought or idea) by means of particular words.
    I wasn't sure how to phrase my condolences without sounding patronising.
    • 1613, William Shakespeare; [John Fletcher], “The Famous History of the Life of King Henry the Eight”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358 ↗, [Act I, scene i]:
      These suns — for so they phrase 'em.
  2. (intransitive, music) To perform a passage with the correct phrasing.
  3. (transitive, music) To divide into melodic phrases.
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