SI MUOVE, MA NON TROPO: An Inquiry into the Non-metaphorical Status of Idioms and Phrases

  • Jean-Claude Choul


Idioms and phrases are commonly presented and described as metaphorical or figurative lexical units, although not systematically. Throw up the sponge bears the indication fig in the Concise Oxford, with the meaning of abandoning contest, owning oneself beaten, while pass the sponge does not. This labelling is not restricted to entries considered as idioms. Devour, when the object is a book, is indicated as fig in Longman’s, but not in the Concise. While of common use in French dictionaries, this sort of rhetoricosemantic labelling does not seem to be much in favour among American lexicographers.


Lexical Item Semiotic System Semantic Unit English Idiom Phrasal Idiom 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jean-Claude Choul
    • 1
  1. 1.Dalhousie UniversityHalifaxCanada

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