Phraseological Unit

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Phraseological Unit


(also called idiom), a word group with a fixed lexical composition and grammatical structure; its meaning, which is familiar to native speakers of the given language, is generally figurative and cannot be derived from the meanings of the phraseological unit’s component parts. The meanings of phraseological units are the result of the given language’s historical development.

There are several types of phraseological units, as follows. In phraseological concretions the literal and figurative meanings are totally unrelated, as in tochit’ liasy (“to whittle a piece of linden wood”; figuratively, “to chatter”) or sobaku s”est’ (“to know inside out”; literally, “to eat a dog”). Other phraseological units have a meaning that is derived from the meaning of the component parts, as in plyt’ po techeniiu (“to flow with the current”). Phraseological collocations include a word or words with a meaning that is both literal and figurative, as in glubokaia tishina (“profound silence”). Another type of phraseological unit is the idiomatic expression, a word group whose structure and meaning are fixed.

Other classifications of phraseological units acccording to type exist as well. They include classifications based on the restrictions in the selection of variable structural elements, those based on the fixed or variable composition of the word components, and those based on the degree to which the phraseological unit’s structure and components are fixed. The aggregate of phraseological units differing in terms of meaning and structure constitutes a language’s stock of idioms.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
The second cline concerns grammatically invariable nominal heads, with an output similar to a phraseological unit, as explained in Dubois & Dubois (1971).
The important question of bilingual lexicography: whether to give a verbatim translation of a source language (SL) phraseological unit or always aim at a target language (TL) phraseological unit of the same kind as the SL item, does not have an agreed upon answer.
The oldest example of ATTITUDES-related idiomatic sense is 'to be sad/disappointed' of the phraseological unit to make/pull a FACE, as evidenced by the OED 16th century context (1570 The poore Birde when he saw hir make that FACE to him was halfe afraide.
In this phraseological unit, a limited choice of collocates is possible for the verb.
Autorica istice da se uz engleski termin idiom cesto susrecu i drugi poput pure idioms, figurative idioms i restricted collocations, fixed expression, phraseological unit i formulaic language, a u talijanskom se jeziku koriste termini unita fraseologica, frase fatta, locuzione, espressione idiomatica te modo di dire.
Such modification or manipulation cannot but be highly creative since the fixedness of the received phraseological unit is a fortress militating against variation.
By definition a phraseological unit (3) (PU) does not exceed the limits of a sentence in its base form (4), or in its core use (5).
There is no doubt that the new modified phraseological unit works in this context literally since the dog Snoopy is staring at the back door which is not being opened, but it is also true that this occasional proverb points also to the figurative meaning of the original utterance when something is wished deeply, time seems to stretch and its passing gets slowlier.