[syn: idiom, idiomatic expression, phrasal idiom, set phrase, phrase]
The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Idiom \Id"i*om\ ([i^]d"[i^]*[u^]m), n. [F. idiome, L. idioma,
fr. Gr. 'idi`wma, fr. 'idioy^n to make a person's own, to
make proper or peculiar; fr. 'i`dios one's own, proper,
peculiar; prob. akin to the reflexive pronoun o"y^, o'i^,
'e`, and to "eo`s, 'o`s, one's own, L. suus, and to E. so.]
1. The syntactical or structural form peculiar to any
language; the genius or cast of a language.
Idiom may be employed loosely and figuratively as a
synonym of language or dialect, but in its proper
sense it signifies the totality of the general rules
of construction which characterize the syntax of a
particular language and distinguish it from other
tongues. --G. P. Marsh.
By idiom is meant the use of words which is peculiar
to a particular language. --J. H.
He followed their language [the Latin], but did not
comply with the idiom of ours. --Dryden.
2. An expression conforming or appropriate to the peculiar
structural form of a language.
Some that with care true eloquence shall teach,
And to just idioms fix our doubtful speech. --Prior.
3. A combination of words having a meaning peculiar to itself
and not predictable as a combination of the meanings of
the individual words, but sanctioned by usage; as, an
idiomatic expression; less commonly, a single word used in
a peculiar sense.
[1913 Webster +PJC]
It is not by means of rules that such idioms as the
following are made current: "I can make nothing of
it." "He treats his subject home." --Dryden. "It is
that within us that makes for righteousness." --M.
Sometimes we identify the words with the object --
though by courtesy of idiom rather than in strict
propriety of language. --Coleridge.
4. The phrase forms peculiar to a particular author; as,
written in his own idiom.
Every good writer has much idiom. --Landor.
5. Dialect; a variant form of a language.
Usage: Idiom, Dialect. The idioms of a language belong to
its very structure; its dialects are varieties of
expression ingrafted upon it in different localities
or by different professions. Each county of England
has some peculiarities of dialect, and so have most of
the professions, while the great idioms of the
language are everywhere the same. See Language.
WordNet (r) 3.0 (2006):
n 1: a manner of speaking that is natural to native speakers of
a language [syn: parlance, idiom]
2: the usage or vocabulary that is characteristic of a specific
group of people; "the immigrants spoke an odd dialect of
English"; "he has a strong German accent"; "it has been said
that a language is a dialect with an army and navy" [syn:
dialect, idiom, accent]
3: the style of a particular artist or school or movement; "an
imaginative orchestral idiom" [syn: artistic style,
4: an expression whose meanings cannot be inferred from the
meanings of the words that make it up [syn: idiom,
idiomatic expression, phrasal idiom, set phrase,
Moby Thesaurus II by Grady Ward, 1.0:
86 Moby Thesaurus words for "idiom":
Acadian, Anglo-Indian, Brooklynese, Cajun, Canadian French,
Cockney, French Canadian, Gullah, Midland, Midland dialect,
New England dialect, Pennsylvania Dutch, Yankee, Yorkshire,
adjectival phrase, argot, bundle of isoglosses, cant,
choice of words, class dialect, clause, cliche, composition,
construction, dialect, dialect dictionary, diction, expression,
formulation, grammar, headed group, idiotism, isogloss, jargon,
language, langue, lingo, lingua, linguistic atlas,
linguistic community, linguistic island, local dialect, localism,
locution, manner of speaking, noun phrase, paragraph, parlance,
parole, patois, peculiar expression, period, personal usage,
phrasal idiom, phrase, phraseology, phrasing, provincialism,
regional accent, regionalism, rhetoric, sentence, set phrase,
speech, speech community, standard phrase, subdialect,
syntactic structure, talk, term, tongue, turn of expression,
turn of phrase, usage, use of words, usus loquendi, utterance,
verb complex, verb phrase, verbalism, verbiage, vernacular,
way of speaking, word-group, wordage, wording