\ 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

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 His lawyers argued that the policy violated his rights under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment. NBC News, 27 Aug. 2021 The focus here is on the in sickness and in health clause of marital vows, which enables Mr. Henkin to plumb the full measure of his characters’ moral fiber. Heller Mcalpin, WSJ, 16 June 2021 The lawsuit also accuses MLB of violating the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Vritti Rashi Goel, CBS News, 2 June 2021 Orlando City star Daryl Dike is fully back to being a Lion after Barnsley elected not to exercise the option-to-buy clause of its four-month loan for the striker. Julia Poe,, 1 June 2021 Turley, who testified against impeachment during Trump’s first impeachment trial, said the speech of members of Congress is protected not just by the First Amendment but the speech and debate clause of the US Constitution., 17 May 2021 As a general matter, few doubt that Congress has broad authority to regulate congressional elections because of the elections clause of the Constitution. New York Times, 5 May 2021 Supporters of the bill say the closures infringed on the free exercise clause of the First Amendment. Molly Beck, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 23 Mar. 2021 Descano expected that the defendants would seek to dismiss the indictments, raising the supremacy clause of the U.S. Constitution that federal officers may not be prosecuted under state law. Washington Post, 15 Mar. 2021

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 entry 1

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Time Traveler for clause

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

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Last Updated

16 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Clause.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Sep. 2021.

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More Definitions for clause



English Language Learners Definition of clause

: 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 clause (audio) \ adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on clause

Nglish: Translation of clause for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of clause for Arabic Speakers


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