Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A speech form or an expression of a given language that is peculiar to itself grammatically or cannot be understood from the individual meanings of its elements, as in keep tabs on.
  • n. The specific grammatical, syntactic, and structural character of a given language.
  • n. Regional speech or dialect.
  • n. A specialized vocabulary used by a group of people; jargon: legal idiom.
  • n. A style or manner of expression peculiar to a given people: "Also important is the uneasiness I've always felt at cutting myself off from my idiom, the American habits of speech and jest and reaction, all of them entirely different from the local variety” ( S.J. Perelman).
  • n. A style of artistic expression characteristic of a particular individual, school, period, or medium: the idiom of the French impressionists; the punk rock idiom.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A manner of speaking, a way of expressing oneself.
  • n. A language or dialect.
  • n. Specifically, a particular variety of language; a restricted dialect used in a given historical period, context etc.
  • n. An artistic style (for example, in art, architecture, or music); an instance of such a style.
  • n. An expression peculiar to or characteristic of a particular language, especially when the meaning is illogical or separate from the meanings of its component words.
  • n. A programming construct or phraseology generally held to be the most efficient, elegant or effective means to achieve a particular result or behavior.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The syntactical or structural form peculiar to any language; the genius or cast of a language.
  • n. An expression conforming or appropriate to the peculiar structural form of a language.
  • n. A combination of words having a meaning peculiar to itself and not predictable as a combination of the meanings of the individual words, but sanctioned by usage; ; less commonly, a single word used in a peculiar sense.
  • n. The phrase forms peculiar to a particular author.
  • n. Dialect; a variant form of a language.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A mode of expression peculiar to a language; a peculiarity of phraseology; a phrase or form of words approved by the usage of a language, whether written or spoken, and often having a signification other than its grammatical or logical one. See idiotism, 1.
  • n. The genius or peculiar cast of a language; hence, a peculiar form or variation of language; a dialect.
  • n. Synonyms Dialect, Diction, etc. See language.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. the usage or vocabulary that is characteristic of a specific group of people
  • n. the style of a particular artist or school or movement
  • n. a manner of speaking that is natural to native speakers of a language
  • n. an expression whose meanings cannot be inferred from the meanings of the words that make it up

Etymologies

Late Latin idiōma, idiōmat-, from Greek, from idiousthai, to make one's own, from idios, own, personal, private; see s(w)e- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle French idiome, and its source, Late Latin idioma, from Ancient Greek ἰδίωμα (idioma, "a peculiarity, property, a peculiar phraseology, idiom"), from ἰδιοῦσθαι (idiousthai, "to make one's own, appropriate to oneself"), from ἴδιος (idios, "one's own, pertaining to oneself, private, personal, peculiar, separate"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

Comments

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  • * to toe the line = to do as you're told
    * to shoulder responsibility = to assume the responsibility on sth.
    * to foot the bill = to pay it no matter what
    * to thumb a lift = to ask for a lift
    * to elbow your way in = to make your way in no matter what
    * to table a question = to just say what you want to say
    * to corner a thief = to leave the thief without a way out
    * to tiptoe into a room = to enter without making any noise
    * to man a ship = to furnish with a labor force for work, defense
    * to coat with paint = apply paint to
    * to cash in on an idea = to get a compensation, generally in money, from an idea
    * to ship goods
    * to house asylum seekers
    * doom and gloom = pessimism
    * time and again = always; many times; in a repeatedly manner
    * to gild the lily = to add something that's not needed.
    * high and dry = deserted (forsaken by owner or inhabitants)
    * high and low = everywhere
    * flesh and blood = human nature or physical existence, together with its weaknesses
    * fame and fortune
    * first and foremost = first and most important of all
    * life and soul = lively, generally referring to a person
    * black and white = communication by means of written symbols (either printed or handwritten)
    * sixes and sevens = a state of confusion or disarray
    * thick and thin = no matter what
    * safe and sound = free from danger or injury
    * give and take = make mutual concessions
    * touch and go = precarious

    Idioms that have to do with food
    * put all your eggs in one basket = not to do everything the same way
    * have a bigger fish to fry = to have more important things to do
    * take with a pinch of salt = to listen to someone but not completely believe the story

    April 30, 2010

  • A lot of idioms here

    April 30, 2010

  • What would happen during an idiom shortage?

    November 7, 2009

  • idiom: particular phrase
    idioma: language

    June 11, 2008