“Paraphrase: 1. The (more or less) free rewording of an expression or text, as an explanation, clarification, or translation: ‘Paraphrase, or translation with latitude, where the author is kept in view…, but his words are not so strictly followed as his sense’ (John Dryden, preface to his translation of Ovid, 1680). 2. An act or result or rewording, such as a simplified version of a legal document: a plain-English paraphrase of The contractor shall have a general lien upon all goods in his possession for all monies due to him from the customer is We have a right to hold some or all of the goods until you have paid our charges. 3. To make a paraphrase; to translate or define loosely: the compound word teapot can be paraphrased or explained by the phrase a pot for tea but not by a pot of tea.”

Excerpted from: McArthur, Tom. The Oxford Concise Companion to the English Language. New York: Oxford University Press, 2005.

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