By phrase here I mean an expression consisting of multiple [separate] words, without being a full sentence. (For example, Witze reißen, mein sogenannter Urlaub, zwischen achtzig und scheintot, etc.)
When I look for phrase in my English-German dictionaries, invariably the translation given is Phrase, but when I look up Phrase in my German dictionaries, the meaning given is something like platitude or cliché or empty phrase.
What would be a translation of phrase that more closely captures the sense I'm interested in?
The context for this is that I am making some lists of German vocabulary, and I want to classify the entries into words (Worte), phrases (???), and sentences (Sätze). (I realize that this distinction is pretty artificial, especially in reference to a language with German's agglutinative tendencies; nevertheless, I find it helpful somehow.)
To clarify, I'm looking for a translation of phrase that only emphasizes the fragmentary nature of a phrase (i.e. it is not a full sentence), without implying anything about how colloquial, idiomatic, literary, etc., the phrase may be. For example, ein blaues Hemd is a phrase.
OK, I found two potential translations: