\ ˈklȯz How to pronounce clause (audio) \

Definition of clause

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 2 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

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Examples of clause in a Sentence

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

That sort of killed the privileges-and-immunities clause of the Constitution, which, to my mind, ought to be revived. Isaac Chotiner, The New Yorker, "The Buried Promise of the Reconstruction Amendments," 9 Sep. 2019 Whelan rejected a similar argument by Hunter that his actions constituted legislative activity protected by a section of the U.S. Constitution known as the speech or debate clause. Morgan Cook, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Rep. Duncan Hunter argues his campaign filings are immune from prosecution," 6 Sep. 2019 Ohio is not among the 28 states with such a clause, Vicuna said. Rich Exner,, "What anti-gerrymandering court win in North Carolina means for Ohio," 4 Sep. 2019 From the end of Reconstruction into the 1960s, chief executives rarely took action to faithfully execute the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment when the rights of African Americans and other racial minorities were being violated. Michael Kazin, The New Republic, "The Impossibility of Impeachment," 10 June 2019 The Trump Organization has donated profit from foreign governments to the U.S. Treasury, part of a bid to counter criticism that Trump may be violating the U.S. Constitution’s emoluments clauses by accepting payments from foreign governments. Josh Wingrove, Fortune, "Trump Pitches Luxury Miami Property for Next G-7: His Own," 26 Aug. 2019 City attorneys said her comments violated the non-disparagement clause in her agreement. Tim Prudente,, "Federal appeals court faults Baltimore police for gag orders, calls practice unconstitutional ‘hush money’," 11 July 2019 The church is looking into at least one case of another teaching violating the morality clause in her contact. Arika Herron, Indianapolis Star, "Archbishop says Indianapolis Archdiocese is not on a 'witch hunt' for gay teachers," 28 June 2019 The lawsuit, joined by about 200 other Democratic lawmakers, accuses Trump of violating the clause because his businesses, including his hotel in downtown Washington D.C., have hosted foreign embassy events and visiting foreign officials. Ana Radelat,, "Sen. Richard Blumenthal finds special niche on Judiciary Committee," 10 June 2019

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.

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First Known Use of clause

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for clause

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

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Statistics for clause

Last Updated

12 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for clause

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

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More Definitions for clause



English Language Learners Definition of clause

grammar : a part of a sentence that has its own subject and verb
: a separate part of a legal document


\ ˈklȯz How to pronounce clause (audio) \

Kids Definition of clause

1 : a separate part of a document (as a will)
2 : a group of words having its own subject and predicate The sentence “When it rained they went inside” is made up of two clauses: “when it rained” and “they went inside.”


\ ˈklȯz How to pronounce clause (audio) \

Legal Definition of clause

: 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

Other Words from clause

clausal \ ˈklȯ-​zəl How to pronounce clausal (audio) \ adjective

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More from Merriam-Webster on clause

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with clause

Spanish Central: Translation of clause

Nglish: Translation of clause for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of clause for Arabic Speakers

Comments on clause

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