idiom(redirected from idiomatic expression)
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a combination of linguistic units whose meaning does not coincide with the meaning of its component elements. This lack of correspondence may be a consequence of the change in meaning of the elements as part of the whole.
A distinction is made between intralinguistic and interlinguis-tic idioms; the latter are characterized by the impossibility of “literal” translation. The lexical idiom is a nonfree combination of words (a variety of phraseological unit) that is characterized by integrity of the meaning, which cannot be inferred from the lexical components; it has the functional features of a word as a nominative unit of language and is rendered as an integral unit of language—for example, sobaku s”est\ “to know inside out” (literally “to eat a dog”); slomia golovu, “at breakneck speed” (literally “breaking [one’s] head”); akhillesova piata, “Achilles’ heel”; and pod mukhoi, “tipsy” (literally “under the fly”). The.concept of “lexical idiom” reflects the outcome of the widespread, although irregular, process of the formation of integral character structures as the result of the fusion of the signifieds of two or more word signs with preservation of the formal separability of their signifiers.
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Bar-Hillel, Y. “Idiomy.” In Mashinnyi perevod. Moscow, 1957. (Translated from English.)
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V. N. TELIIA