phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions at

What does it mean to "turn a phrase"?

Posted by Masakim on January 06, 2002 at

In Reply to: What does it mean to "turn a phrase"? posted by R. Berg on January 05, 2002

: : ?

: Sense 6d of "turn," in the American Heritage Dictionary:

: "To give distinctive, artistic, or graceful form to: 'turn a phrase.'"

turn of phrase
A particular arrangement of words, as in _I'd never heard that turn of phrase before_, or _An idiom can be described as a turn of phrase_. This idiom alludes to the turning or shaping of objects (as on a lathe), a usage dating from the late 1600s.
From The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer

Alison (quoting her husband): Poor old Daddy -- just one of those sturdy pld plants left over from the Edwardian Wilderness that can't understand why the sun isn't shining any more. (Rather lamely.) Something like that anyway.
Colonel: He has quite a turn of phrase, hasn't he?
--John Osborne, Look Back in Anger, 1957

See also: the meaning and origin of the phrase 'turn of phrase'.

© 1997 – 2024 All rights reserved.