From Longman Dictionary of Contemporary Englishphrasephrase1 /freɪz/ ●●● S3 W3 noun [countable] 1 WORD, PHRASE, OR SENTENCEa group of words that have a particular meaning when used together, or which someone uses on a particular occasion Who first used the phrase ‘survival of the fittest’? Shakespeare’s plays are full of well-known phrases.► see thesaurus at word2 technicalSLG a group of words without a finite verb, especially when they are used to form part of a sentence, such as ‘walking along the road’ and ‘a bar of soap’ → clause(2), sentence1(1)3 APMa short group of musical notes that is part of a longer piece → to coin a phrase at coin2(2), → a turn of phrase at turn2(11), → turn a phrase at turn1(20)COLLOCATIONSadjectivesa famous/well-known phraseWe all hear the phrase "greenhouse gasses", but do you know what it really means?a memorable phraseWho was it who used that memorable phrase "a monumental error of judgement"?a colourful phrase (=interesting or rude)His conversation is full of colourful phrases.a well-turned phrase (=skilfully invented or chosen)She creates lifelike characters with a few well-turned phrases.THESAURUSphrase a group of words that have a particular meaning when used together, or which someone uses on a particular occasionWhat was the phrase he used to describe her?I’ve never heard of the phrase before.The president often used the phrase ‘War on terror’.expression a fixed phrase which is used in a language and has a particular meaninga colloquial expression (=an informal expression used in everyday spoken language)The old-fashioned expression ‘in the family way’ means pregnant.a common English expressionI was absolutely knackered, if you’ll pardon the expression (=used when you think someone might be offended by the words you have used).idiom a group of words that has a special meaning which you cannot guess from the meanings of each separate word‘Under the weather’ is an idiom which means ‘ill’.cliché a phrase that is boring and no longer original because people use it a lotThe phrase ‘at the end of the day’ has become a real cliché. There is some truth in the old cliché that time is a great healer.saying/proverb a well-known phrase that gives advice about lifeDo you know the saying ‘A problem shared is a problem halved’?There is an old Chinese proverb which states ‘A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step’.slogan a short phrase that is easy to remember, especially one that is used in advertisingadvertising slogansProtesters were shouting anti-government slogans.motto a phrase that expresses a person’s or organization’s beliefs and aimsThe school motto was ‘Truth and Honour’.
Examples from the Corpusphrase• The Interpreter features excellent quality, digitised speech and over 13,000 phrases.• Similarly there is also a probability distribution over the ordering of items in a phrase.• There are some useful words and phrases at the end of each chapter in the Student's Book.• After each phrase she slurped saliva in through her teeth.• His campaign is, to use one of his favourite phrases, 'as dead as Elvis'.• Very often a student creates his first phrase and then finds himself at a loss.• I'm trying to learn some French phrases for my trip to Paris.• Motifs Composers have sometimes used a recurring motif or melodic phrase to establish the atmosphere of a piece.• "A bottle of whisky' is a noun phrase, and "really rather foolishly' is an adverb phrase.• The head of the bank described the salary cuts as 'peanuts', a turn of phrase which angered many bank workers.• Like title fights, the Super Bowl would need a catchy name or phrase that symbolizes the magnitude of the cosmic event.• The battle of El Alamein was, in Churchill's phrase, "the end of the beginning'.• Who first coined the phrase "Iron Curtain'?• I was criticized for using the phrase 'gay lifestyles'.• Are you familiar with the phrase "the old boy network'?• Darwin gave the world the phrase, "survival of the fittest."• The phrase 'a big black dog' is the subject of the sentence.