Definition of syntagm in English:


(also syntagma)


  • 1A linguistic unit consisting of a set of linguistic forms (phonemes, words, or phrases) that are in a sequential relationship to one another.

    ‘the syntagm is always composed of two or more units’
    Often contrasted with paradigm
    • ‘The tone, mood, fast-paced interjections, and witty syntagms of the 1940s vernacular are very difficult to convey in the several lines of subtitled translation.’
    • ‘In written etic discourse, which is, after all, a linear string of syntagms, one may need to break off in order to ‘enflesh’ a character.’
    • ‘For Saussure, syntagms are a ‘horizontal’ dimension of language, and are the regular and typical patterns of structure in the language system.’
    • ‘In addition, notes of the missing syntagms have to be made, and schemes of the structure and movement of the text have to be drawn, making the piece difficult to comprehend.’
    1. 1.1The relationship between any two syntagms.


Mid 17th century: via late Latin from Greek suntagma, from suntassein arrange together.