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  1. present participle of phrase


phrasing (plural phrasings)

  1. The way a statement is put together, particularly in matters of style and word choice.
    • 1870, Mark Twain, chapter 46, in Life on the Mississippi[1]:
      But for the Sir Walter disease, the character of the Southerner -- or Southron, according to Sir Walter's starchier way of phrasing it -- would be wholly modern, in place of modern and medieval mixed, and the South would be fully a generation further advanced than it is.
  2. (music) The way the musical phrases are put together in a composition or in its interpretation, with changes in tempo, volume, or emphasizing one or more instruments over others.
    • 1891, Joel Benton, chapter 17, in Life of Hon. Phineas T. Barnum[2]:
      The grand difficulty in the opening andante movement of Casta Diva lies in its broad, sustained phrasing, in the long, generous undulation of its rhythm, which with most singers drags or gets broken out of symmetry. Jenny Lind conceived and did it truly.