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Related to idiom: proverb


Arts the characteristic artistic style of an individual, school, period, etc.
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



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.


Vinogradov, V. V. “Ob osnovnykh tipakh frazeologicheskikh edinits v russkom iazyke.” In A. A. Shakhmatov, 1864–1920: Sbornik statei i materialov. Moscow-Leningrad, 1947.
Bar-Hillel, Y. “Idiomy.” In Mashinnyi perevod. Moscow, 1957. (Translated from English.)
Mel’chuk, I. A. “O terminakh ‘ustoichivost’’ i ‘idiomatichnost’.’” Voprosy iazykoznaniia, 1960, no. 4.
Moskal’skaia, O. I. “Grammaticheskie idiomatizmy i sintagmika.” Ino-strannye iazyki v vysshei shkole, 1962, fasc. 1.
Hockett, C. “Idiom Formation.” In the collection For R. Jakobson: Essays on the Occasion of His Sixtieth Birthday. The Hague, 1956.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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