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.