Definition of set phrase in English:

set phrase


  • An unvarying phrase having a specific meaning, such as ‘raining cats and dogs’, or being the only context in which a word appears, for example ‘amends’ in ‘make amends’.

    • ‘The form Scotch survives, however, in compounds and set phrases.’
    • ‘From the evidence, it seems that the trend towards using people instead of persons is accelerating and that it may not be so long before persons vanishes from the language except in certain set phrases.’
    • ‘For me, the intransitive use of ‘bore easily’ is a minor cliché, that is, a phrase I recognize when I see it as a set phrase, even though I might not see it all that often.’
    • ‘Chinese schooling emphasizes the preservation of the oral culture by requiring children to memorize set phrases and to think in mnemonic patterns.’
    • ‘Chinese set phrases come from classical sources such as fables, historical anecdotes, novels and drama, and classical poetry; all are considered ‘gems’ of Chinese culture.’
    expression, group of words, word group, Construction, clause, locution, wording, term, turn of phrase, idiom, idiomatic expression, set phrase, phrasal idiom, phrasal verb
    View synonyms


set phrase