1. A sequence of words that have meaning, especially when forming part of a sentence.
a. A characteristic way or mode of expression: an apt turn of phrase.
b. A brief, apt, and cogent expression: the phrase "out of the frying pan and into the fire."
3. Music A short passage or segment, often consisting of four measures or forming part of a larger unit.
4. A series of dance movements forming a unit in a choreographic pattern.
v. phrased, phras·ing, phras·es
1. To express orally or in writing: The speaker phrased several opinions.
a. To divide (a passage) into phrases.
b. To combine (notes) in a phrase.
1. To make or express phrases.
2. Music To perform a passage with the correct phrasing.
[Latin phrasis, diction, from Greek, speech, diction, phrase, from phrazein, to point out, show; see gwhren- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.