\ 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

In their letter, employees demanded Google remove its mandatory-arbitration clauses from employee contracts, a widespread but controversial practice that prevents U.S. workers from suing their employer in open court. Ezequiel Minaya, WSJ, "Google Employees Stage Global Walkout Over Treatment of Sexual Harassment," 1 Nov. 2018 While Finland expressed interest in joining Macron's plan for tighter European defense cooperation, Denmark is limited by its defense opt-out clause in its EU ties, which keeps its out of military matters. Dorothee Thiesing, Fox News, "Macron says Europe's security architecture must be rethought," 30 Aug. 2018 Challengers rely on both the First Amendment charge and say the maps violated the Equal Protection clause of the 14th Amendment. CNN, "Supreme Court not finding consensus on gerrymandering," 28 Mar. 2018 Another change is a sunset clause, where the agreement would lapse after 16 years if it isn’t actively negotiated. Jon Talton, The Seattle Times, "Learning the wrong lessons from Trump’s rebranded NAFTA," 2 Oct. 2018 Lord presented evidence that this arbitration clause was not present in the initial version of the Terms of Service, when Lord made his first contribution to the RSI Kickstarter. Kyle Orland, Ars Technica, "Court denies Star Citizen backer’s $4,500 refund lawsuit," 18 July 2018 At issue is the Constitution’s emoluments clause, which bans federal officials from accepting benefits from foreign or state governments without congressional approval. Amy Brittainand Ashley Parker,, "Kushner, Ivanka Trump made at least $82m in outside income in ’17," 11 June 2018 The specific Constitutional clauses are something of a blank slate having rarely been tested in court in more than 200 years. Washington Post, "Obscure no more, the emoluments clause is back again in a federal court," 11 June 2018 Arbitration clauses are legal methods used to resolve disputes in private settings through a third-party, instead of in public court or through a collective claim in court. Julyssa Lopez, Glamour, "What You Should Know About the Supreme Court Arbitration Ruling that Ruth Bader Ginsburg Called 'Egregiously Wrong'," 22 May 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

14 Mar 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

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


grandiloquent, ostentatious, or bombastic

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