\ 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 Lawmakers say that the hefty liability clause only applies in cases of gross negligence. Nina Trentmann, WSJ, "After Wirecard, Germany’s Proposed Audit Overhaul Worries Finance Executives," 8 Apr. 2021 The governor declared this just after a coalition of advocacy groups sued him and the state’s top health official, arguing that not offering the vaccine flouted the 14th Amendment’s clause guaranteeing equal protection under the law. New York Times, "When the Pandemic Came to Sullivan Prison," 6 Apr. 2021 The court earlier this year declined a case alleging that Trump had violated the obscure emoluments clause of the Constitution through his dealing at the Washington, D.C., Trump Hotel. Nicholas Rowan, Washington Examiner, "Supreme Court dismisses case challenging Trump Twitter blocks," 5 Apr. 2021 One victory Balan was able to secure: Pechman’s original ruling struck down the confidentiality clause in her agreement with Tesla. Los Angeles Times, "No public trial for former Tesla engineer who says the company defamed her," 23 Mar. 2021 The judge ruled against Fahey, though, citing the Constitution’s supremacy clause that gives the federal government jurisdiction over state and local governments. David Anderson,, "Week-long celebration of Havre de Grace’s role in the women’s suffrage movement kicks off Sunday," 18 Mar. 2021 The interpretation of what constitutes an imminent threat is expanding to such an extent that you could be forgiven for thinking that the Constitution’s declare-war clause no longer applied. Daniel Depetris, National Review, "Joe Biden Shouldn’t Be Able to Start Wars on His Own," 16 Mar. 2021 The criminal case against the officers seems headed to a showdown over whether the supremacy clause shields the two Park Police officers from being charged in Virginia. Washington Post, "Case of Park Police slaying of Bijan Ghaisar grinds to a halt, again," 15 Mar. 2021 However, the clause has its limitations, both by statute and in practical terms. Dallas News, "Child be gone: Tips to make a disinheritance stick," 28 Feb. 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

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for clause

Last Updated

12 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Clause.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Apr. 2021.

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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 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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