Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary

parenthesis

play
noun, pa·ren·the·sis \pə-ˈren(t)-thə-səs\

Simple Definition of parenthesis

  • : one of a pair of marks ( ) that are used around a word, phrase, sentence, number, etc.

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of parenthesis

plural parenthesesplay \-ˌsēz\

  1. 1 a :  an amplifying or explanatory word, phrase, or sentence inserted in a passage from which it is usually set off by punctuation b :  a remark or passage that departs from the theme of a discourse :  digression

  2. 2 :  interlude, interval

  3. 3 :  one or both of the curved marks ( ) used in writing and printing to enclose a parenthetical expression or to group a symbolic unit in a logical or mathematical expression

parenthetical play \ˌper-ən-ˈthe-ti-kəl, pa-rən-\ also parenthetic play \-tik\ adjective
parenthetically play \-ti-k(ə-)lē\ adverb

Origin of parenthesis

Late Latin, from Greek, literally, act of inserting, from parentithenai to insert, from para- + en- en- + tithenai to place — more at do


First Known Use: circa 1550

Other Grammar and Linguistics Terms


PARENTHESIS Defined for Kids

parenthesis

play
noun pa·ren·the·sis \pə-ˈren-thə-səs\

Definition of parenthesis for Students

plural parentheses \-ˌsēz\

  1. :  one of a pair of marks ( ) used to enclose a word or group of words or to group mathematical terms to be dealt with as a unit

parenthetical \-ti-kəl\ adjective




Seen and Heard

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

WORD OF THE DAY

to dishevel or rumple

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

alt-5746713d76276

Which of these is a synonym of nonplus?

soothe reduce perplex disapprove
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ