Definition of idiom noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary

     

    idiom

     noun
    noun
    BrE BrE//ˈɪdiəm//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈɪdiəm//
     
    Grammar, Linguistic devices
     
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  1. 1 [countable] a group of words whose meaning is different from the meanings of the individual words ‘Let the cat out of the bag’ is an idiom meaning to tell a secret by mistake. Synonymswordterm phrase expression idiomThese are all words for a unit of language used to express something.word a single unit of language which means something and can be spoken or written:Do not write more than 200 words. He uses a lot of long words.term (rather formal) a word or phrase used as the name of something, especially one connected with a particular type of language:technical/​legal/​scientific terms ‘Old man’ is a slang term for ‘father’.phrase a group of words which have a particular meaning when used together:Who coined the phrase ‘desktop publishing’? In grammar, a phrase is a group of words without a finite verb, especially one that forms part of a sentence: ‘the green car’ and ‘on Friday morning’ are phrases.expression a word or phrase:He tends to use a lot of slang expressions that I’ve never heard before.idiom a group of words whose meaning is different from the meanings of the individual words:‘Let the cat out of the bag’ is an idiom meaning to tell a secret by mistake.Patterns a word/​term for something a new word/​term/​phrase/​expression a technical/​colloquial word/​term/​phrase/​expression a slang word/​term/​phrase an idiomatic phrase/​expression to use a(n) word/​term/​phrase/​expression/​idiom to coin a(n) word/​term/​phrase/​expression a(n) word/​term/​phrase/​expression/​idiom means something See related entries: Grammar, Linguistic devices
  2. 2 [uncountable, countable] (formal) the kind of language and grammar used by particular people at a particular time or place The friends would sometimes revert to playground idiom. See related entries: Linguistic devices
  3. 3[uncountable, countable] (formal) the style of writing, music, art, etc. that is typical of a particular person, group, period or place the classical/contemporary/popular idiom He has produced a classical play in a modern idiom.
  4. Word Origin late 16th cent.: from French idiome, or via late Latin from Greek idiōma ‘private property, peculiar phraseology’, from idiousthai ‘make one's own’, from idios ‘own, private’.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: idiom