Definition of collocation in US English:



  • 1Linguistics
    The habitual juxtaposition of a particular word with another word or words with a frequency greater than chance.

    ‘the words have a similar range of collocation’
    • ‘If the substituted words have relevant meanings, so much the better; and if the original collocation is archaic or otherwise non-compositional, that improves the chances still further.’
    • ‘The fact that profits is used in collocation with the expression ‘could reasonably be taken to be attributable’ has considerable significance.’
    • ‘This example shows how the meanings of words are constructed and maintained by patterns of collocation.’
    • ‘Johnson gave little attention to collocation, idiom, and grammatical information, although he provided a brief grammar at the front.’
    • ‘3 Wright is careful with his words, and so we can conclude that the repeated collocation of the phrases ‘moral bootstraps’ and ‘Pelagianism’ is no accident.’
    comparison, contrast
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A pair or group of words that are habitually juxtaposed.
      ‘“strong coffee” and “heavy drinker” are typical English collocations’
      • ‘He has smoothed out a whole range of peculiar collocations and syntactical anomalies in order to make the translation flow.’
      • ‘‘Isotropic rigmarole’ is a cute collocation, with a texture like chrome and bone.’
      • ‘Other errors stem from the software's reliance on collocational data - for instance, the transcription follows sordid with tale, which appears to be nothing more than a hunch based on the frequency of the collocation sordid tale.’
      • ‘For example, he invites us to ‘consider the number of collocations like ‘by and large’ that we use with no discernible compositional rationale.’’
      • ‘The collocations go to church/school/college and be at church/school/college are shared, but go to university/be at university and go to hospital/be in hospital are BrE, AmE requiring the as in go to the university.’
  • 2The action of placing things side by side or in position.

    ‘the collocation of the two pieces’
    • ‘The significant potential deficiencies in terms of both CIS and support manpower were a major driver toward the intended collocation of the JFACHQ with the JTFHQ.’
    • ‘That collocation of ingredients necessarily is attended with harm to the competitive process.’
    • ‘The collocation of these functionally related units with their organic equipment enabled a dramatic improvement in weekend training.’
    • ‘Workspace and billeting collocation can set the conditions for relationship development.’
    • ‘Despite the legal prohibition, Army plans already have included such collocation of women-men units in blueprints for a lighter force of 10 active divisions, according to Defense Department sources.’
    • ‘Mr. Platts-Mills Q.C. for the Defendants contended that the claimed integers the subject of claim 1 of the patent in suit are a mere collocation of integers each integer being part of a cell designer's common general knowledge.’
    • ‘In order to make code really, really robust, when you code-review it, you need to have coding conventions that allow collocation.’
    • ‘Carol Hamilton will follow up with the NCER organizers to gather more specific data about costs, registration fees, and space needs before a final decision about collocation and support can be made.’
    • ‘This collocation of precocious poetic essence, stupefying lyricism and seditious brilliance sets up Rimbaud as the Romantic-Modern poet par excellence.’
    • ‘The collocation of the JSRC in the CAOC did not occur by happenstance.’
    • ‘He defines style as involving the latter two of his three processes of expression-the collocation of words into sentences and the construction of rhetorical figures.’
    • ‘Now I think we put them up, we gave it a definition - that's an international definition developed by growing collocation of churches, community groups and unions calling for a fair trading environment.’
    • ‘This performance reduces interference from other microwave transmitters when collocation is required, according to company officials.’
    • ‘Then finally one has to consider whether the step is properly described as a new combination of integers or merely as a collocation of old ones.’
    • ‘Significant to the JIOC is the initial collocation of collectors and analysts, as well as the direct response of analysts to COCOM requirements in theater.’
    • ‘The Army Test and Evaluation Command will assess the potential for consolidation and collocation of its headquarters and report recommendations in the spring.’
    • ‘What is the highest compliment payable to a stout, 800-page collocation of investigative articles, cultural and literary essays, think pieces, and random philosophical noodling?’
    • ‘The collocation of this process with the formative and summative assessment technology of the HSC examination further complicates the situation.’
    • ‘Our particular physical construction, this unique collocation of chemicals, provides the intelligible language of being that makes possible the shared meaning and moral awareness of human community.’
    • ‘He said DP-AF would also better recognise some of the cross-issues, such as collocation of serving members, because the personnel managers would work alongside one another.’


Late Middle English: from Latin collocatio(n-), from collocare ‘place together’ (see collocate).