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I could say I have a wide vocabulary if I know the meaning of many words. What would I say if I know many phrases?

Or, if I learn a new phrase, then I have added it to my ____.

I am not looking for words that can be used for groups of things in general (e.g. arsenal).

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Words are finite in number, phrases infinite. Knowing many phrases is actually limiting. Knowing how to construct phrases is infinitely more valuable. – Robusto Mar 9 '13 at 1:31
The previous is true, knowledge of words, should take priority over knowledge of phrases, but what you fail to realize, is that some phrases in the English language could have two connotations, you would see one connotation if you were to dissect every word looking for it's connotation, or the second connotation, which would be the phrase's value altogether. For example: every idiom or metaphor ever. – David Mar 9 '13 at 1:57
@robusto: Assuming your first postulate to be true, and given that there are no strings over say 100 words long reckoned as phrases in the usually accepted senses of the word, your second postulate has to be false (even allowing 150 say positions for different forms of punctuation). Incredibly numerous or perhaps uncountable - even unguessable - but not infinite. – Edwin Ashworth Mar 9 '13 at 9:54
Apparently, in 1558, there would have been an obvious answer: Phraseology: a collection or handbook of the phrases or idioms of a language, 1558. ( Dictionary of Collective Nouns and Group Terms. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. ) This sense has now been lost ( thefreedictionary.com/phraseology ). – Edwin Ashworth Mar 9 '13 at 9:58
@EdwinAshworth: By your logic the word infinite should never, ever be used, since it describes a state that cannot possibly exist. – Robusto Mar 9 '13 at 14:13
up vote 3 down vote accepted

Diction of phrases. That is as close as you will get:

Diction - (Merriam Webster) choice of words especially with regard to correctness, clearness, or effectiveness

Diction - (dictionary.com) style of speaking or writing as dependent upon choice of words.

Although this is not quite exactly what you wanted it is as close as you can get for a specific word.

For example:

"I have added the phrase 'In essence' to my diction"

The previous doesn't mean "I now know what 'in essence' means", it is much closer to: "I now use the phrase 'in essence' in conversation a lot" or "The phrase 'in essence' is now a staple in my speaking/writing."

If it is absoluetely required that you have a word with the connotation of "I now know", unfortunately (as far as my knowledge extends) there is no word that is specifically referring to the knowledge of phrases, but there are some great general terms you can use, such as:

  • repertoire
  • inventory
  • collection
  • repository
  • stock
  • supply
  • roster

(My personal favorites to use for this situation would be repertoire or repository)

Please note that the previous words are not to be used as: "I have added 'x' to my repertoire", but rather they are all to be followed by 'of phrases', such as: "I have added 'x' to my repertoire of phrases"

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Hmm.. I've never heard anybody mention adding a phrase to their diction. I'm pretty sure most native speakers would use either the term repertoire (with or without additional qualification), or stock of expressions. – Erik Kowal Apr 26 '14 at 9:39

'Lexicon' might to fit the bill for you. although it is commonly used to reference the body of words known, it can also include 'idiomatic phrases'.

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I'm sure vocabulary is also used in the broadened sense. Collins' definitions bracket such a usage (bolding mine): vocabulary [vəˈkæbjʊlərɪ] n pl -laries 1. (Linguistics) a listing, either selective or exhaustive, containing the words and phrases of a language, with meanings or translations into another language; glossary 2. (Linguistics) the aggregate of words in the use or comprehension of a specified person, class, profession, etc. 3. (Linguistics) all the words contained in a language – Edwin Ashworth Mar 9 '13 at 10:03

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