noun (1)
\ ˈel How to pronounce ell (audio) \

Definition of ell

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: a former English unit of length (as for cloth) equal to 45 inches (about 1.14 meters) also : any of various units of length used similarly


noun (2)

Definition of ell (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : an extension at right angles to the length of a building
2 : an elbow in a pipe or conduit

Definition of ELL (Entry 3 of 3)

English language learner; English language learning

First Known Use of ell

Noun (1)

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

Noun (2)

1773, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for ell

Noun (1)

Middle English eln, from Old English; akin to Old High German elina ell, Latin ulna forearm, Greek ōlenē elbow, Sanskrit aratni

Noun (2)

alteration of el entry 1

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The first known use of ell was before the 12th century

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Cite this Entry

“Ell.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ell. Accessed 21 May. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on ell

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for ell

Britannica English: Translation of ell for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about ell


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