\ ˈklȯz \

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

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

Both items would include a sunset clause that voids the taxing after the loans are repaid, unless future village trustees vote to keep them. Rick Kambic,, "Parts of Mundelein underwater day after village lays out long-term flood prevention efforts," 27 June 2018 Mr Trudeau cancelled a meeting with Mr Trump last month because the Americans made acceptance of a sunset clause a precondition. The Economist, "Donald Trump stomps on Canada’s economy," 14 June 2018 But Trudeau objected strenuously to a sunset clause of any length. Catherine Lucey, Washington Post, "Trump pulls out of joint G-7 statement, attacks Trudeau," 10 June 2018 But Trudeau objected strenuously to a sunset clause of any length. Fox News, "Trump pulls out of joint G-7 statement, attacks Trudeau," 10 June 2018 But the United States want a sunset clause in NAFTA, which makes no sense. NBC News, "Meet the Press - June 3, 2018," 3 June 2018 Gonzalez says the new terms with be $275 a head to raise between $45 million and $49 million a year, with a sunset clause January 1, 2024. USA TODAY, "Amazon 'disappointed' with controversial tax passed by Seattle City Council," 14 May 2018 True, the deal has flaws, including sunset clauses that permit Iran to restart the program – under continued inspection – after 10-15 years. Trudy Rubin,, "Trump's foolish abandonment of Iran nuclear deal makes U.S., Israel less safe | Trudy Rubin," 8 May 2018 Approved last August, the measure includes a sunset clause requiring the village board to revisit the fee every year and giving residents 65 and older a 25 percent discount. Erin Sauder, Elgin Courier-News, "East Dundee to keep trash pickup fee in place for now," 18 Apr. 2018

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 2018

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 \

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 \

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 \ adjective

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