Meaning of “phrase” in the English Dictionary

"phrase" in British English

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phrasenoun [ C ]

uk /freɪz/ us /freɪz/

phrase noun [ C ] (GRAMMAR)

language a group of words that is part of, rather than the whole of, a sentence


  • an adverbial phrase
  • an adjectival phrase
  • The phrase "a not unfamiliar situation" is an example of a double negative.
  • The phrase "a hard frost" is a collocation.
  • In grammar, an adjunct is an adverb or adverbial phrase that gives extra information in a sentence.

phrase noun [ C ] (EXPRESSION)

B1 a short group of words that are often used together and have a particular meaning:

We are governed, in Lord Hailsham's famous phrase, by an "elective dictatorship".
See also

More examples

  • I've just bought a dictionary of phrases, sayings and quotations.
  • He used a rather obscure phrase and I can't remember what it was now.
adjective /ˈfreɪ.zəl/ /ˈfreɪ.zəl/


phraseverb [ T usually + adv/prep ]

uk /freɪz/ us /freɪz/

(Definition of “phrase” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"phrase" in American English

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phrasenoun [ C ]

us /freɪz/

a group of words expressing a particular idea or meaning:

I think the phrase "bundle of energy" describes Mara very well.

grammar A phrase is a group of words forming a part of a sentence:

In "He was a man of great wealth," "of great wealth" is a prepositional phrase.

music A phrase is also a group of notes with a clear beginning and ending within a larger piece of music.

adjective us /ˈfreɪ·zəl/

phraseverb [ T ]

us /freɪz/

to express something in a particular way when speaking or writing:

The wording of his resignation was carefully phrased to avoid any admission of guilt.

(Definition of “phrase” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

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