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Idiom Dictionary, Lexicon

The English word idiom was itself derived from the Greek “ἰδίωμα" (idioma), which can be variously
translated as peculiarity, property, or peculiar phraseology. Hence the word has come to be used to
describe the form of speech peculiar to a people or country and, in a narrower sense, to the forms
peculiar to a limited district, group of people, or even the technical vocabulary peculiar to a profession
such as medicine, the law or any of the sciences. This narrower sense is also described by the word
dialect (Gr. διάλεκτος), also of Greek origin. In philosophical terms idiom is a
collection of different parts (words) forming an entity (holotes) with a
meaning different from its parts.

A Bilingual dictionary of idioms is a work of reference, containing a wide

range of idiomatic expressions in a language with proposals as to their
nearest equivalents in another language; it includes a comprehensive range
of phrasal and prepositional verbs, colloquialisms and proverbs, together
with examples of their usage and translations or equivalent phrases in the
reader’s language; and at the same time to achieve a coherent whole, both
through the choice of entries and their translations.

These two aims reflect the fact that such a dictionary is rather a lexicon than
a simple dictionary in its narrow meaning, and is addressed to two
categories of reader.

In the first place it is addressed to students, by whom idiomatic phrases may often be misconstrued
or mistranslated, representing at least a barrier to achieving ease with the use of idiomatic, or natural
English, and at worst, costly mistakes in school or university examinations.

A reference book of this kind is destined to provide a complementary tool for student’s studies.
Coming across an English idiom he doesn’t know, he can refer to this lexicon and hopefully, as the
idioms are placed within a context, find a reliable translation.

The second category of reader is any citizen of the world today who, whether a student or not, finds
himself more and more often in the situation of having to speak a language other than his mother
tongue. And this person will find a dictionary with illustrations, words and phrases - a modern
engravings of technological society; a book which he wants to carry with him (hence it must have a
compact format), to leaf through and also to read, dipping into it less to verify a word than to become
impregnated with a culture. The idioms are selected both for their occurrence in the language and for
their “cultural reflection”.

Both categories of reader need this invaluable linguistic resource, which

complements the other references, dictionaries, grammars and textbooks
that students and users of English have at their disposal. Such a book
provides a key to a meeting of the minds of these two speaking worlds by
enabling a means of translation of modes of expression rather than simply of

The specific sense in which such a book is a lexicon of idioms is the sense in
which it deals with those forms of expression, grammatical construction,
phrase and phraseology which are peculiar to a language and established in
approved usage, which often have a signification, or meaning, other than the
grammatical or logical one which is indicated by the words themselves. A
natural consequence of this is that study of idioms will also illuminate the
character, properties and genius of the language and hence the character and manner of expression
which is peculiar to the users of it.
Examples are included to embrace, at one end of the spectrum, idioms which are, in both languages
of each version, almost word for word translations of each other (perhaps representing human idiom),
while at the other end, phrases which at first sight seem to bear little resemblance to one another yet,
on consideration, can be found to express ideas relating to their subject matter which could be said to
be peculiar to the modes of expression found, respectively, in usage of both languages.

See also

• Language
• Lexicography
• Word
• Idiom
• Reference book
• Dictionary
• Bilingual dictionary
• Lexicon
• Dialect
• Idioms
• Idiom dictionary
• Saying
• Colloquialism
• Collocation
• Cliché
• Adage
• Catchword
• Catch-phrase
• Motto
• Mantra
• Proverb
• Phrasal verb
• Slang
• Euphemism