1. A restatement of a text or passage in another form or other words, often to clarify meaning.
2. The restatement of texts in other words as a studying or teaching device.
3. The adaptation or alteration of a text or quotation to serve a different purpose from that of the original.
v. par·a·phrased, par·a·phras·ing, par·a·phras·es
1. To restate using different words, especially to clarify.
2. To adapt or alter (a text or quotation) to serve a different purpose from that of the original: "It's tempting to paraphrase an environmental slogan and say, 'Think globally, pray locally'" (Christian Science Monitor).
To compose a paraphrase.
[French, from Latin paraphrasis, from Greek, from paraphrazein, to paraphrase : para-, alongside; see PARA-1 + phrazein, to show, explain; see gwhren- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2017 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
The American Heritage Dictionary Blog
Check out our blog, updated regularly, for new words and revised definitions, interesting images from the 5th edition, discussions of usage, and more.
American Heritage Dictionary Products
The American Heritage Dictionary, 5th Edition
The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms
The American Heritage Roget's Thesaurus
Curious George's Dictionary
The American Heritage Children's Dictionary
The American Heritage Dictionary of Indo-European Roots
The American Heritage Student Grammar Dictionary
The American Heritage Desk Dictionary + Thesaurus
The American Heritage Science Dictionary
The American Heritage Dictionary of Business Terms
The American Heritage Student Dictionary
The American Heritage Essential Student Thesaurus