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illustration Holophrasis



Part of speech: noun

Origin: Greek, 19th century


The expression of a whole phrase in a single word — for example, “howdy” for “how do you do.”

Examples of Holophrasis in a sentence

"Preschool teachers have to decipher various forms of holophrasis from their students."

"William’s preferred method of speech seemed to be holophrasis."

About Holophrasis

This word is a combination of “holo-,” from the Greek “holos,” meaning "whole, entire, complete” plus the Latinized form of the Greek “phrastikos,” originally from “phrazein,” meaning "to indicate, tell, express."

Did you Know?

Toddlers go through a stage where holophrasis makes up a majority of their vocabulary. Combined with tone of voice and and body language, their use of single words tends to get the message across effectively. For instance, if a toddler says “up” with his arms raised in the air, he likely wants you to pick him up. Holophrasis is essentially the backbone of a child’s vocabulary.

illustration Holophrasis

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