Definition of locution in English:



  • 1A word or phrase, especially with regard to style or idiom.

    • ‘Occasionally, we shall employ the locution, ‘land rent,’ which is technically redundant; we do so merely to provide recurring emphasis as a reminder of what is meant.’
    • ‘This depends on the interpreter's culturally specific understanding of the social significance of the locution.’
    • ‘In one of the courtrooms here, the air is thick with quaint-sounding British courtroom locutions.’
    • ‘His earliest plays were political, ridiculing the wooden locutions of communist rhetoric.’
    • ‘We are not using locutions of that kind in this case for reasons found in the history of the argument.’
    • ‘The downside of using both locutions is redundancy; the upside is precision and clarity, though I realize that the trade-off here is controversial.’
    • ‘For these reasons, we try to help our students understand the pejorative implications of such stereotypical locutions and believe that what they say matters.’
    • ‘That locution is uttered as if it is some fatal sequence of human conduct.’
    • ‘Her locutions seem to have neither introductions nor conclusions but begin from a place of inquiry and intimacy.’
    • ‘What I do remember about Eddie Rademeyer is a particular locution he favoured when a question of his was met with a blank stare by some poor uncomprehending pupil.’
    • ‘At any rate, my defense of Barber's diction, if it needs one, is that not being graced or burdened with the role of authorized biographer, he may have felt authorized to employ unofficial, slangy locutions.’
    • ‘It is easy to paraphrase another author's ideas or incorporate his or her locutions without crediting the source.’
    • ‘Perhaps ‘unavoidable circumstances’ would be a better locution?’
    • ‘These locutions are determinedly descriptive.’
    • ‘This reduces ‘constitutional right’ to a fancy locution for ‘rights I think are important’.’
    • ‘This locution is recurrent in the accumulating commentary on Desiderio's paintings.’
    • ‘One of my least favorite locutions in politics is the statement by an official or politician that someone's criticism of government policy is ‘unhelpful.’’
    • ‘What is chilling is that Mullen's masterfully deformed locutions sound more like clarifying paraphrases than like parodies.’
    • ‘Even the most resistive of these locutions, however, do not explicitly embrace feminism or seek any larger political context.’
    • ‘Today, any state-sponsored eugenic ideology would surely face considerable opposition, but instead we have (to use the barbarous locution now common) ‘privatized’ eugenic decisions.’
    wording, diction, phrasing, phraseology, style, vocabulary, terminology, expressions, turns of phrase, parlance, manner of speaking, manner of writing, way of talking, form of expression, mode of expression, usages, locutions, idiolect, choice of words, rhetoric, oratory
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    1. 1.1mass noun A person's style of speech.
      ‘his impeccable locution’
      • ‘Like the protagonists in the classic Hollywood films of Anthony Mann, Hawks or Ford, the leads of Collateral express themselves through their action as much as their locution.’
      oratory, rhetoric, grandiloquence, magniloquence
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  • 2An utterance regarded in terms of its intrinsic meaning or reference, as distinct from its function or purpose in context.

    Compare with illocution, perlocution
    • ‘The surface grammar of power locutions can be misleading in numerous ways.’
    • ‘The central claim of the prosentential theory is that ‘x is true’ functions as a prosentence-forming operator rather than a property-ascribing locution.’
    • ‘For our paraphrastic procedure to be comprehensive, it must work with contexts containing explicitly comparative locutions.’


Late Middle English: from Old French, or from Latin locutio(n-), from loqui ‘speak’.