1. A brief expression, sometimes a single word, but usually two or more words forming an expression by themselves, or being a portion of a sentence; as, an adverbial phrase. ""Convey" the wise it call. "Steal!" foh! a fico for the phrase." (Shak)

2. A short, pithy expression; especially, one which is often employed; a peculiar or idiomatic turn of speech; as, to err is human.

3. A mode or form of speech; the manner or style in which any one expreses himself; diction; expression. "Phrases of the hearth." "Thou speak'st In better phrase and matter than thou didst." (Shak)

4. A short clause or portion of a period.

A composition consists first of sentences, or periods; these are subdivided into sections, and these into phrases. Phrase book, a book of idiomatic phrases.

Origin: F, fr. L. Phrasis diction, phraseology, Gr, fr. To speak.

(01 Mar 1998)

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