1. A restatement of a text or passage in another form or other words, often to clarify meaning.
2. The restatement of texts in other words as a studying or teaching device.
3. The adaptation or alteration of a text or quotation to serve a different purpose from that of the original.
v. par·a·phrased, par·a·phras·ing, par·a·phras·es
1. To restate using different words, especially to clarify.
2. To adapt or alter (a text or quotation) to serve a different purpose from that of the original: "It's tempting to paraphrase an environmental slogan and say, 'Think globally, pray locally'" (Christian Science Monitor).
To compose a paraphrase.
[French, from Latin paraphrasis, from Greek, from paraphrazein, to paraphrase : para-, alongside; see PARA-1 + phrazein, to show, explain; see gwhren- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.