All Words > Holophrasis

Friday, February 25



Part of speech: noun

Origin: Greek, 19th century


The expression of a whole phrase in a single word — for example, “howdy” for “how do you do.”

Examples of Holophrasis in a sentence

"Preschool teachers have to decipher various forms of holophrasis from their students."

"William’s preferred method of speech seemed to be holophrasis."

Popularity Over Time

Popularity over time graph

About Holophrasis

This word is a combination of “holo-,” from the Greek “holos,” meaning "whole, entire, complete” plus the Latinized form of the Greek “phrastikos,” originally from “phrazein,” meaning "to indicate, tell, express."

Did you Know?

Toddlers go through a stage where holophrasis makes up a majority of their vocabulary. Combined with tone of voice and and body language, their use of single words tends to get the message across effectively. For instance, if a toddler says “up” with his arms raised in the air, he likely wants you to pick him up. Holophrasis is essentially the backbone of a child’s vocabulary.

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