par·a·phrase / ˈparəˌfrāz/ • v. [tr.] express the meaning of (the writer or speaker or something written or spoken) using different words, esp. to achieve greater clarity: you can either quote or paraphrase literary texts. • n. a rewording of something written or spoken by someone else. DERIVATIVES: par·a·phras·a·ble adj. par·a·phras·tic / ˌparəˈfrastik/ adj.
1. The (more or less) free rewording of an expression or text, as an explanation, clarification, or TRANSLATION: ‘Paraphrase, or translation with latitude, where the author is kept in view …, but his words are not so strictly followed as his sense’ ( John Dryden, preface to his translation of Ovid, 1680).
2. An act or result of rewording, such as a simplified version of a legal document: a plain-English paraphrase of The contractor shall have a general lien upon all goods in his possession for all monies due to him from the customer is We have a right to hold some or all of the goods until you have paid all our charges.
3. To make a paraphrase; to translate or define loosely: the COMPOUND WORD teapot can be paraphrased or explained by the phrase a pot for tea but not by a pot of tea.
1. Compositional process in polyphonic works of 15th and 16th cent., involving quotation in one or more vv. of a plainchant melody, usually one that has been altered rhythmically or melodically.
2. In 19th cent., term applied to works based on existing melodies or comps., especially as a vehicle for virtuosity. Thus, Liszt's many ‘paraphrases’ for pf. of arias from It. operas.
3. Scottish paraphrases are metrical versions of scriptural passages sung to psalm tunes in the Church of Scotland.