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Tuesday, May 11, 2010


An idiom (Latin: idioma, “special property”, f. Greek: ἰδίωμα - idiōma, “special feature, special phrasing”, f. Greek: ἴδιος - idios, “one’s own”) is an expression, word, or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is comprehended in regard to a common use of that expression that is separate from the literal meaning or definition of the words of which it is made.[1] There are estimated to be at least 25,000 idiomatic expressions in American English.[2]
In linguistics, idioms are usually presumed to be figures of speech contradicting the principle of compositionality; yet the matter remains debated. John Saeed defines an “idiom” as words collocated that became affixed to each other until metamorphosing into a fossilised term.[3] This collocation — words commonly used in a group — redefines each component word in the word-group and becomes an idiomatic expression. The words develop a specialized meaning as an entity, as an idiom. Moreover, an idiom is an expression, word, or phrase whose sense means something different from what the words literally imply. When a speaker uses an idiom, the listener might mistake its actual meaning, if he or she has not heard this figure of speech before.[4] Idioms usually do not translate well; in some cases, when an idiom is translated into another language, either its meaning is changed or it is meaningless.

In grammar, an adjective is a word whose main syntactic role is to modify a noun or pronoun, giving more information about the noun or pronoun's referent. Collectively, adjectives form one of the traditional English eight parts of speech, though linguists today distinguish adjectives from words such as determiners that also used to be considered adjectives.
Not all languages have adjectives, but most, including English, do. (English adjectives include big, old, and tired, among many others.) Those that do not, typically use words of another part of speech, often verbs, to serve the same semantic function; for example, such a language might have a verb that means "to be big", and would use a construction analogous to "big-being house" to express what English expresses as "big house". Even in languages that do have adjectives, one language's adjective might not be another's; for example, while English uses "to be hungry" (hungry being an adjective), French uses "avoir faim" (literally "to have hunger", hunger being a noun), and where Hebrew uses the adjective "זקוק" (zaqūq, roughly "in need of"), English uses the verb "to need".
. idiomatic expression - an expression whose meanings cannot be inferred from the meanings of the words that make it up
phrasal idiom, set phrase, phrase, idiom
locution, saying, expression - a word or phrase that particular people use in particular situations; "pardon the expression"
ruralism, rusticism - a rural idiom or expression
in the lurch - in a difficult or vulnerable position; "he resigned and left me in the lurch"
like clockwork - with regularity and precision; "the rocket launch went off like clockwork"

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