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
(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