\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

The bill also includes a particularly problematic clause enabling the creation of homogenous communities based on religion and nationality. Ruth Eglash, Washington Post, "Jewish or democratic? Israel debates its founding principles.," 12 July 2018 However, some other WPP shareholders have criticized the board for not including a non-compete clause in Sorrell’s contract to prevent him from going head-to-head with the company. Bloomberg, Fortune, "Martin Sorrell Sticks It To His Old Firm WPP With His Latest Deal," 10 July 2018 Ellsbury, who lost the starting center fielder’s job to Aaron Hicks last season, arrived in training camp with three years and $68 million remaining on a contract that includes a no-trade clause. New York Times, "Good News: Gardner Returns. Bad News: Yankees Still Fall to Rays.," 22 June 2018 All of the purchase agreements include the anti-flip clause at the heart of the Cena situation. Gary Gastelu, Fox News, "John Cena settles with Ford over sale of $460,000 supercar," 19 June 2018 The standard cheerleader contract includes a clause in which both sides agree that the NFL commissioner will preside over binding arbitration to settle any disputes. David Barron, Houston Chronicle, "Texans attorneys request to dismiss cheerleader lawsuit," 15 June 2018 Including an opt-out clause in his new deal would give Rodgers all the leverage in negotiating future contracts. Geoffrey C. Arnold,, "Green Bay Packers Aaron Rodgers wants opt-out clause in next contract: Report," 5 June 2018 And their friend with benefits again explained that his benefits package still does not include a committed relationship clause and that further inquiries about his FWB package could result in FWB termination. Author: Wayne And Wanda, Anchorage Daily News, "He said he doesn’t want a relationship – so why is he acting like my boyfriend?," 20 May 2018 Stability Clause Miners insist the government reinsert a stability clause, present in the former code, that protected license holders from complying with changes to the fiscal and customs regime for 10 years. William Clowes,, "Miners Threaten Legal Action Against Congo Over New Code," 31 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

7 Nov 2018

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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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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).


something that serves to warn or remind

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