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noun hi·a·tus \hī-ˈā-təs\

Simple Definition of hiatus

  • : a period of time when something (such as an activity or program) is stopped

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of hiatus

  1. 1 a :  a break in or as if in a material object :  gap <the hiatus between the theory and the practice of the party — J. G. Colton> b :  a gap or passage in an anatomical part or organ

  2. 2 a :  an interruption in time or continuity :  break; especially :  a period when something (as a program or activity) is suspended or interrupted <after a 5-year hiatus from writing> b :  the occurrence of two vowel sounds without pause or intervening consonantal sound

Examples of hiatus in a sentence

  1. The band is making an album again after a five-year hiatus.

  2. <steam was rising from an hiatus in the ground>

Did You Know?

Hiatus comes from "hiare," a Latin verb meaning "to gape" or "to yawn," and first appeared in English in the middle of the 16th century. Originally, the word referred to a gap or opening in something, such as a cave opening in a cliff. In the 18th century, Laurence Sterne used the word humorously in his novel Tristram Shandy, writing of "the hiatus in Phutatorius's breeches." These days, "hiatus" is usually used in a temporal sense to refer to a pause or interruption (as in a song), or a period during which an activity is temporarily suspended (such as a hiatus from teaching).

Origin and Etymology of hiatus

Latin, from hiare to yawn — more at yawn

First Known Use: 1563

Rhymes with hiatus

Medical Dictionary


noun hi·a·tus \hī-ˈāt-əs\

Medical Definition of hiatus

  1. :  a gap or passage through an anatomical part or organ; especially :  an opening through which another part or organ passes (such as the opening in the diaphragm through which the esophagus and vagus nerves pass)

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up hiatus? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


of, relating to, or near a shore

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