\ 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

But there is a belief that Martin’s contract, like with most higher-salary contracts in MLB, had a binding arbitration clause, which means that neither party can sue the other in this situation. Ryan Divish, The Seattle Times, "After being fired, Lorena Martin levels accusations of racism at Mariners, who call them ‘false’," 13 Nov. 2018 Here is the list of demands presented by the organizers of the walkout, including asking the company to remove mandatory arbitration clauses from employee contracts. Recode Staff, Recode, "Recode Daily: Kara Swisher interviews Elon Musk," 2 Nov. 2018 Companies can now use arbitration clauses to prevent workers from joining together to file class-action lawsuits, because of a May Supreme Court ruling. Alana Semuels, The Atlantic, "I Delivered Packages for Amazon and It Was a Nightmare," 25 June 2018 At issue in the underlying lawsuit are two provisions known as the emoluments clauses, which were added to the Constitution to ensure the president’s decisions are not influenced by gifts or payments from foreign governments or states. John Fritze,, "Judge allows Maryland, D.C. to sue Trump over president's businesses," 28 Mar. 2018 Every contract has an 'out clause' that allows the county to terminate the contact within 30 days. Karen Farkas,, "How does Cuyahoga County award contracts and purchase items?," 19 Mar. 2018 Smith says hospitals like Royal Free — the only hospital that currently uses the Streams app with patients — could back out from the deals due to break clauses in their contracts. James Vincent, The Verge, "Privacy advocates sound the alarm after Google grabs DeepMind UK health app," 14 Nov. 2018 Di Maio also suggested there would not be a safeguard clause that would trigger spending cuts in the event the deficit target was overshot, as Italian media had reported. Colleen Barry, The Seattle Times, "Italy’s doesn’t budge in clash with EU over budget deficit," 13 Nov. 2018 Under fierce lobbying from the airlines, lawmakers dropped this clause in the final draft. Barbara Peterson, Condé Nast Traveler, "How the New FAA Bill Will Affect Air Travelers," 24 Sep. 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

3 Jan 2019

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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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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

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


involving abstract or general statements

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