I have heard about lexical density, but is there such a thing as "idiomatic density", and if so, does it have an established name?
"Idiomatic density" would measure the effectiveness by which a phrase or fixed expression conveys a certain meaning as compared to another phrase with the same meaning, or as compared to "spelling it out" - using a description of the meaning.
A naïve example could be
- "spilled the beans"
- "laid the cards on the table"
- "revealed the secret"
Where 1 and 2 are meant to be "idioms" or "fixed expressions", as opposed to 3, that is a description of the meaning. 1 would be the densest, using fewer words or sounds, where as 2 would be the least dense, using more words or sounds than the others.
Or consider an object oriented programming language:
j = i.add(5)
j = i + 5
Both statements have verifiable the same effect, and therefore arguably the same meaning, but 2 is denser than 1.