AskDefine | Define phraseology

Dictionary Definition

phraseology n : the manner in which something is expressed in words; "use concise military verbiage"- G.S.Patton [syn: wording, diction, phrasing, choice of words, verbiage]

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. the style in which words and phrases are used in writing or speech
  2. a group of specialized words and expressions used by a particular group


Extensive Definition

distinguish Voice procedure
In linguistics, phraseology describes the context in which a word is used. This often includes typical usages/sequences, such as idioms, phrasal verbs, and multi-word lexical units. Phraseological units are (according to Prof. Kunin A.V.) stable word-groups with partially or fully transferred meanings (e.g. "to kick the bucket").
Specialized phraseological expressions are common in these cases of interference. The characteristics of specialized phraseological expressions have been established, among other authors, by Bevilacqua (2001). The criteria for their identification include the common features established by Corpas Pastor (1996: 19-20) for the simple phraseological units: these units are institutionalized and stable expressions formed by various words, whose elements have some syntactic or semantic peculiarity. In the case of specialised phraseological units, at least one terminological unit is added, as well as its usage in a specific scope and a relevant frequency in specific texts (Bevilacqua, 2001).
Bengt Altenberg states that phraseology is a fuzzy part of language. It embraces the conventional rather than the productive or rule-governed side of language, involving various kinds of composite unite and “pre-patterned” expressions such as idioms, fixed phrases, and collocations.
According to Rosemarie Glaeser, a phraseological unit is a lexicalized, reproducible bilexemic or polylexemic word group in common use, which has relative syntactic and semantic stability, may be idiomatized, may carry connotations, and may have an emphatic or intensifying function in a text.

History of the development of phraseology

Gabriele Knappe gives a quick look at the history of phraseology. Phraseology is a scholarly approach to language which developed in the twentieth century. It took its start when Charles Bally's notion of locutions phraseologiques entered Russian lexicology and lexicography in the 1930s and 1940s and was subsequently developed in the former Soviet Union and other Eastern European countries. From the late 1960s on it established itself in (East) German linguistics but was also sporadically approached in English linguistics, too. The earliest English adaptations of phraseology are by Weinreich (1969; within the approach of transformational grammar), Arnold (1973), and Lipka (1974). In Great Britain as well as other Western European countries, phraseology has steadily been developed over the last twenty years. The activities of the European Society of Phraseology (EUROPHRAS) and the European Association for Lexicography (EURALEX) with their regular conventions and publications attest to the prolific European interest in phraseology. With regard to bibliographical publications, the voluminous bibliography by Joachim Lengert (1998-1999) is an inventory of studies on phraseology (in a wide sense) in Romance philology “from the beginning until 1997". It comprises 17,433 titles. Bibliographies of recent studies on English and general phraseology are included in Welte (1990) and specially collected in Cowie/Howarth (1996) whose bibliography is reproduced and continued on the internet and provides a rich source of the most recent publications in the field.


  • Altenberg, Bengt."On the Phraseology of Spoken English: The Evidence of Recurrent Word-Combinations". Phraselogy. Ed. A.P.Cowie. Oxford:Clarendon Press. 1998.101
  • Glaeser, Rosemarie."The Stylistic Potential of Phraselolgical Units in the Light of Genre Analysis". Phraselogy. Ed. A.P.Cowie. Oxford:Clarendon Press. 1998.125
  • Knappe, Gabriele. Idioms and Fixed Expressions in English Language Study before 1800. Peter Lang 2004.4--5
phraseology in Belarusian: Фразеалогія
phraseology in Belarusian (Tarashkevitsa): Фразеалогія
phraseology in Czech: Frazeologismus
phraseology in Danish: Fraseologi
phraseology in German: Phraseologismus
phraseology in Estonian: Fraseologism
phraseology in Polish: Frazeologia
phraseology in Portuguese: Fraseologia
phraseology in Russian: Фразеология
phraseology in Slovak: Frazeologizmus
phraseology in Ukrainian: Фразеологія

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

argot, cant, choice of words, composition, dialect, diction, expression, formulation, gibberish, gobbledygook, grammar, idiom, jargon, language, langue, lexicon, lexis, lingo, lingua, locution, mumbo jumbo, parlance, parole, patois, patter, personal usage, phrase, phrasing, rhetoric, scatology, slang, speech, stock of words, taboo language, talk, thesaurus, tongue, usage, use of words, usus loquendi, verbalism, verbiage, vernacular, vocabulary, vulgar language, wordage, wordhoard, wording, words
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