Definition of paraphrase in English:



  • Express the meaning of (the writer or speaker or something written or spoken) using different words, especially to achieve greater clarity.

    ‘you can either quote or paraphrase literary texts’
    • ‘Typically, those are paraphrased into something we can understand, but this epithet, which is arguably worse in motive than those, gets printed.’
    • ‘In part because the meanings of a Beethoven symphony can't be paraphrased into words, one can make purely personal, emotional use of the music.’
    • ‘Active listening involves occasionally paraphrasing ideas expressed by the person.’
    • ‘Here the indefinite a fun and fruity wine can be paraphrased as a fun and fruity kind of wine.’
    • ‘Absolutely, and in hindsight, perhaps I wish I'd just paraphrased it, not used quotes.’
    • ‘Printed text was paraphrased to avoid breaking the code.’
    • ‘And so we paraphrased Trotsky rather than quoting him directly.’
    • ‘‘One believer to another is like one body,’ he said, noting that he was paraphrasing a saying of the prophet Mohammed.’
    • ‘I'm paraphrasing an old joke to make a point about the state of celebrity in 2002.’
    • ‘The discovery of every tale, Naipaul writes, paraphrasing Joseph Conrad, is a moral one.’
    • ‘The quote attributed to the person is paraphrased but contains more detail than the account in the first statement.’
    • ‘I'm totally paraphrasing this conversation.’
    • ‘It's a tough gig best described by paraphrasing the old joke about farming: If you want to make a small fortune free-lancing, start with a large fortune.’
    • ‘This story is of course a minor one, but I am paraphrasing it here because I think it sheds great light on provincial Iraqi affairs about which those of us here in the West hear only rarely.’
    • ‘‘Friendship perhaps is not necessary for survival,’ I paraphrased one of his famous quotes.’
    • ‘Interesting though the research on driver impairment due to carrying out a mobile conversation is just paraphrasing the research sufficient work to generate an article?’
    • ‘It's almost a situation where too much is done in advance to hide the fact that the king, paraphrasing the well-known children's fairy tale, is wearing no clothes.’
    • ‘The words were repeated and the speech was paraphrased.’
    • ‘Miller committed a further offense by paraphrasing the quote and distorting Smithson's analysis.’
    • ‘The answers are paraphrased as I wrote them down as fast as I could.’
    reword, rephrase, express in other words, put in other words, express in one's own words, put in one's own words, express differently, rewrite, rescript, restate, rehash, interpret, gloss
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  • A rewording of something written or spoken by someone else.

    • ‘The following is not a transcript, but a paraphrase of statements and positions.’
    • ‘He cannot get around that by saying he wrote a paraphrase down on a piece of paper.’
    • ‘But of course you can't include URLs in wire stories - it's just not done, and, after all, why would readers want to see actual data when they can read general paraphrases?’
    • ‘This is a paraphrase, but it does convey the flavour.’
    • ‘The apparatus gives readings from several editions, the note gives clear paraphrases of the two originals, and a two-page long note reviews reasoning and approaches by all the major editors.’
    • ‘The interviews were taped, transcribed, and translated: the texts should be considered as paraphrases.’
    • ‘All the way through there are phrases, paraphrases and constructions that strike me as unoriginal.’
    • ‘In fact, many are direct paraphrases of the Psalms and other important Scripture texts.’
    • ‘I finally had to end it when his paraphrases of what I said became more and more outrageous and inaccurate.’
    • ‘That was my best paraphrase of all the CNA reports about the barrage.’
    • ‘In a few cases there even seem to be traces of the use of the Aramaic paraphrases of the Hebrew text which are known as the ‘targums’.’
    • ‘Indeed, Digby, bravo on mastering the art of the paraphrase in mere weeks.’
    • ‘Some anthems have texts in verse - for example psalm paraphrases or hymns, or even original poems - though none of these were termed ‘anthem’ until well into the 19th century.’
    • ‘The simple paraphrases of Scripture, the fact-filled descriptions of life in first-century Palestine, and the gentle words of Jesus stirred my heart.’
    • ‘This means, in turn, that while many of his paraphrases of little known Italian texts are fascinating, his interpretations are problematic.’
    • ‘Below is a bitty paraphrase of a section of the lecture, a section concerning Derrida.’
    • ‘In his early years as a teacher he wrote explanatory paraphrases of many of Aristotle's works, setting a pattern of exegesis which continued to be followed throughout the Middle Ages.’
    • ‘As an author, I can say that there is nothing more disconcerting than to read numerous paragraphs in another book that are hauntingly similar paraphrases of one's own work.’
    • ‘It was that old newspaper trick of using single inverted commas, safe in the knowledge that most readers wouldn't know this meant it was a paraphrase.’
    • ‘The phrases in quotations are paraphrases of Article IV of the Bill of Rights.’
    rewording, rephrasing, rewriting, rewrite, restatement, restating, rehash, rendition, rendering, version, interpretation, gloss
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Mid 16th century (as a noun): via Latin from Greek paraphrasis, from paraphrazein, from para- (expressing modification) + phrazein ‘tell’.