Definition of “idiom” - English Dictionary

british dictionary

“idiom” in British English

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idiomnoun

uk /ˈɪd.i.əm/ us /ˈɪd.i.əm/

B2 [ C ] a group of words in a fixed order that have a particular meaning that is different from the meanings of each word on its own:

To "have bitten off more than you can chew" is an idiom that means you have tried to do something which is too difficult for you.

[ C or U ] formal the style of expression in writing, speech, or music that is typical of a particular period, person, or group:

Both operas are very much in the modern idiom.

More examples

  • He used a very obscure idiom which I can't quite bring to mind.
  • I wasn't familiar with the idiom so I had to guess what he meant.

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

“idiom” in American English

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idiomnoun [ C ]

us /ˈɪd·i·əm/

a group of words whose meaning considered as a unit is different from the meanings of each word considered separately:

Mastering the use of idioms can be hard for a learner.
“Shoot yourself in the foot” is an idiom that means to do something that hurts yourself.

An idiom is also the particular style or manner of expression used by a person or group:

[ C usually sing ] Anger and shouting simply aren’t a part of his idiom.

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

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