from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A speech form or an expression of a given language that is peculiar to itself grammatically or cannot be understood from the individual meanings of its elements, as in keep tabs on.
  • noun The specific grammatical, syntactic, and structural character of a given language.
  • noun Regional speech or dialect.
  • noun A specialized vocabulary used by a group of people; jargon.
  • noun A style of artistic expression characteristic of a particular individual, school, period, or medium.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A mode of expression peculiar to a language; a peculiarity of phraseology; a phrase or form of words approved by the usage of a language, whether written or spoken, and often having a signification other than its grammatical or logical one. See idiotism, 1.
  • noun The genius or peculiar cast of a language; hence, a peculiar form or variation of language; a dialect.
  • noun Synonyms Dialect, Diction, etc. See language.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun The syntactical or structural form peculiar to any language; the genius or cast of a language.
  • noun An expression conforming or appropriate to the peculiar structural form of a language.
  • noun 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; ; less commonly, a single word used in a peculiar sense.
  • noun The phrase forms peculiar to a particular author.
  • noun Dialect; a variant form of a language.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A manner of speaking, a way of expressing oneself.
  • noun A language or dialect.
  • noun Specifically, a particular variety of language; a restricted dialect used in a given historical period, context etc.
  • noun An artistic style (for example, in art, architecture, or music); an instance of such a style.
  • noun An expression peculiar to or characteristic of a particular language, especially when the meaning is illogical or separate from the meanings of its component words.
  • noun programming A programming construct or phraseology generally held to be the most efficient, elegant or effective means to achieve a particular result or behavior.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun the usage or vocabulary that is characteristic of a specific group of people
  • noun the style of a particular artist or school or movement
  • noun a manner of speaking that is natural to native speakers of a language
  • noun an expression whose meanings cannot be inferred from the meanings of the words that make it up


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Late Latin idiōma, idiōmat-, from Greek, from idiousthai, to make one's own, from idios, own, personal, private; see s(w)e- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle French idiome, and its source, Late Latin idioma, from Ancient Greek ἰδίωμα (idioma, "a peculiarity, property, a peculiar phraseology, idiom"), from ἰδιοῦσθαι (idiousthai, "to make one's own, appropriate to oneself"), from ἴδιος (idios, "one's own, pertaining to oneself, private, personal, peculiar, separate").


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  • idiom: particular phrase

    idioma: language

    June 11, 2008

  • What would happen during an idiom shortage?

    November 7, 2009

  • A lot of idioms here

    April 30, 2010

  • * to toe the line = to do as you're told

    * to shoulder responsibility = to assume the responsibility on sth.

    * to foot the bill = to pay it no matter what

    * to thumb a lift = to ask for a lift

    * to elbow your way in = to make your way in no matter what

    * to table a question = to just say what you want to say

    * to corner a thief = to leave the thief without a way out

    * to tiptoe into a room = to enter without making any noise

    * to man a ship = to furnish with a labor force for work, defense

    * to coat with paint = apply paint to

    * to cash in on an idea = to get a compensation, generally in money, from an idea

    * to ship goods

    * to house asylum seekers

    * doom and gloom = pessimism

    * time and again = always; many times; in a repeatedly manner

    * to gild the lily = to add something that's not needed.

    * high and dry = deserted (forsaken by owner or inhabitants)

    * high and low = everywhere

    * flesh and blood = human nature or physical existence, together with its weaknesses

    * fame and fortune

    * first and foremost = first and most important of all

    * life and soul = lively, generally referring to a person

    * black and white = communication by means of written symbols (either printed or handwritten)

    * sixes and sevens = a state of confusion or disarray

    * thick and thin = no matter what

    * safe and sound = free from danger or injury

    * give and take = make mutual concessions

    * touch and go = precarious

    Idioms that have to do with food

    * put all your eggs in one basket = not to do everything the same way

    * have a bigger fish to fry = to have more important things to do

    * take with a pinch of salt = to listen to someone but not completely believe the story

    April 30, 2010