\ 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 most cases, relative clauses are easy to work with. June Casagrande, Burbank Leader, "A Word, Please: Verb-agreement errors can trip up even the most experienced writers," 8 Aug. 2019 The court agreed that the clause was unconstitutional. CBS News, "Wanda Vázquez sworn in as third Puerto Rico governor in less than a week," 7 Aug. 2019 The clauses in the Constitution dealing with secession are open to wide interpretation, as has been made clear by recent comments by the prime minister Abiy Ahmed. Yonatan Fessha, Quartz Africa, "Ethiopia is facing mounting tensions as an ethnic minority community demands secession," 31 July 2019 The takings clause of the Fifth Amendment has been an age-old source of scholarly debate and contentious dispute. New York Times, "Landlords Strike Back, Suing to Dismantle Rent Regulation System," 16 July 2019 The Portuguese champion confirmed on its website that Atletico's offer to pay Felix's lucrative release clause in installments was under consideration. George Ramsay, CNN, "Joao Felix: Benfica considers $143 million offer from Atletico Madrid for teen star," 27 June 2019 Conference scheduling: Immediately after the cancelation clause is a paragraph dealing with conference scheduling. Michael Casagrande |,, "How Alabama’s 2-for-1 football series with South Florida is structured," 24 June 2019 Section 230 has a clause that generally protects online platforms from liability from the content their users generate. Kate Cox, Ars Technica, "Court rules Amazon can be held responsible for defective third-party goods," 8 July 2019 Clearly the sales rep deceived you, but timeshare contracts typically have a clause that absolves the developer from responsibility for anything sales reps say. Liz Weston |,, "Liz Weston: You’re not going to get money back from timeshare purchase," 29 June 2019

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

15 Aug 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).


to move or obtain by small maneuvers

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