clause

noun

1
: a group of words containing a subject and predicate and functioning as a member of a complex (see complex entry 2 sense 1b(2)) or compound (see compound entry 3 sense 3b) sentence
The sentence "When it rained they went inside" consists of two clauses: "when it rained" and "they went inside."
2
: a separate section of a discourse (see discourse entry 1 sense 2) or writing
specifically : a distinct article in a formal document
a clause in a contract

Example Sentences

The sentence “When it rained they went inside” consists of two clauses: “when it rained” and “they went inside.” a clause in a will
Recent Examples on the Web But experts said the incident does not mean the mutual defense clause, known as Article 5, is automatically invoked. Laura L. Davis, USA TODAY, 15 Nov. 2022 Graham had argued the Constitution’s speech and debate clause, which grants members of Congress protections while performing their duties, shielded his actions surrounding the election. Tori Otten, The New Republic, 2 Nov. 2022 As a private institution, Harvard isn’t bound by the equal protection clause, which applies only to government actors. Greg Stohr, Fortune, 31 Oct. 2022 Graham's lawyers argued that the Constitution's speech or debate clause, which protects members of Congress from having to answer questions about legislative activity, shields him from having to testify. Meg Kinnard, ajc, 21 Oct. 2022 Graham's lawyers argued that the U.S. Constitution's speech or debate clause, which protects members of Congress from having to answer questions about legislative activity, shields him from having to testify. CBS News, 20 Oct. 2022 Another clause in the decree, which came into effect immediately, prevents most professional soldiers from terminating their contracts and leaving service until the partial mobilization is no longer in place. Daniel Arkin, NBC News, 21 Sep. 2022 Another key clause in the decree prevents most professional soldiers from terminating their contracts and leaving service until the partial mobilization is no longer in place. Karl Ritter, Anchorage Daily News, 21 Sep. 2022 Another clause in the decree prevents most professional soldiers from terminating their contracts and leaving service until the partial mobilization is no longer in place. Karl Ritter, The Christian Science Monitor, 21 Sep. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'clause.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

Etymology

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Medieval Latin clausa close of a rhetorical period, from Latin, feminine of clausus, past participle of claudere to close — more at close entry 1

First Known Use

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of clause was in the 13th century

Dictionary Entries Near clause

Cite this Entry

“Clause.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/clause. Accessed 2 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition

clause

noun

1
: a separate distinct part of an article or document
a clause in a will
2
: a group of words having its own subject and predicate but forming only part of a compound or complex sentence (as "when it rained" or "they went inside" in the sentence "when it rained, they went inside")

Legal Definition

clause

noun

: a distinct section of a writing
specifically : a distinct article, stipulation, or proviso in a formal document
a no-strike clause in the collective bargaining agreement
clausal adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on clause

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