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idiom

[id-ee-uh m] /ˈɪd i əm/
noun
1.
an expression whose meaning is not predictable from the usual meanings of its constituent elements, as kick the bucket or hang one's head, or from the general grammatical rules of a language, as the table round for the round table, and that is not a constituent of a larger expression of like characteristics.
2.
a language, dialect, or style of speaking peculiar to a people.
3.
a construction or expression of one language whose parts correspond to elements in another language but whose total structure or meaning is not matched in the same way in the second language.
4.
the peculiar character or genius of a language.
5.
a distinct style or character, in music, art, etc.:
the idiom of Bach.
Origin
1565-1575
1565-75; < Latin idiōma < Greek idíōma peculiarity, specific property equivalent to idiō- (variant stem of idioûsthai to make one's own, appropriate, verbal derivative of idiós; see idio-) + -ma noun suffix of result
Synonyms
1. See phrase.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Spanish Words for idiom
masculine noun
1.
[=phrase] modismo

2.
[=phrase] giro

3.
[=style of expression] lenguaje
Collins Spanish Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged and Audio Headword Pronunciation (Spanish) 8th Edition 2005 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1971, 1988 © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2005
Examples from the web for idiom
  • But they seem to sense the necessity of speaking the jazz idiom out of their own convictions.
  • The dialogue is brilliant too, with every character speaking and thinking in his or her own idiom.
  • There are no traces of the restraint imposed by a foreign idiom.
  • The grammatical difficulties, that is, are complicated by considerations of idiom.
  • It is usually said here, as the idiom does of waking thought, that the mind interprets impressions of nerve-stimuli in sleep.
  • Anyone ever thought of an idiom: give an inch, take a mile.
  • They must also avoid the jargon of contemporary academic criticism and write in a public idiom.
  • Mantel contrives an unusual solution to the problem of idiom.
  • And if that means that in some way they share in some of the music and even some of the idiom of the material, that makes sense.
  • But subsequent speakers may have kicked the ladder away and memorized the idiom by rote.
British Dictionary definitions for idiom

idiom

/ˈɪdɪəm/
noun
1.
a group of words whose meaning cannot be predicted from the meanings of the constituent words, as for example (It was raining) cats and dogs
2.
linguistic usage that is grammatical and natural to native speakers of a language
3.
the characteristic vocabulary or usage of a specific human group or subject
4.
the characteristic artistic style of an individual, school, period, etc
Derived Forms
idiomatic (ˌɪdɪəˈmætɪk), idiomatical, adjective
idiomatically, adverb
idiomaticalness, noun
Word Origin
C16: from Latin idiōma peculiarity of language, from Greek; see idio-
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for idiom
n.

1580s, "form of speech peculiar to a people or place," from Middle French idiome (16c.) and directly from Late Latin idioma "a peculiarity in language," from Greek idioma "peculiarity, peculiar phraseology," from idioumai "to appropriate to oneself," from idios "personal, private," properly "particular to oneself," from PIE *swed-yo-, suffixed form of root *s(w)e-, pronoun of the third person and reflexive (referring back to the subject of a sentence), also used in forms denoting the speaker's social group, "(we our-)selves" (cf. Sanskrit svah, Avestan hva-, Old Persian huva "one's own," khva-data "lord," literally "created from oneself;" Greek hos "he, she, it;" Latin suescere "to accustom, get accustomed," sodalis "companion;" Old Church Slavonic svoji "his, her, its," svojaku "relative, kinsman;" Gothic swes "one's own;" Old Norse sik "oneself;" German Sein; Old Irish fein "self, himself"). Meaning "phrase or expression peculiar to a language" is from 1620s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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idiom in Culture

idiom definition


A traditional way of saying something. Often an idiom, such as “under the weather,” does not seem to make sense if taken literally. Someone unfamiliar with English idioms would probably not understand that to be “under the weather” is to be sick. (See examples under “Idioms.”)

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Difficulty index for idiom

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Word Value for idiom

8
9
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