el·​lip·​sis i-ˈlip-səs How to pronounce ellipsis (audio)
plural ellipses i-ˈlip-ˌsēz How to pronounce ellipsis (audio)
: the omission of one or more words that are obviously understood but that must be supplied to make a construction grammatically complete
: a sudden leap from one topic to another
: marks or a mark (such as … ) indicating an omission (as of words) or a pause

Example Sentences

“Begin when ready” for “Begin when you are ready” is an example of ellipsis.
Recent Examples on the Web So use your best judgment before replying when reading messages with an ellipsis. Briannah Rivera, Seventeen, 24 Jan. 2023 Next, tap the ellipsis icon in the upper-right hand corner. Yoni Heisler, BGR, 16 Aug. 2022 That icon will continue to appear on the taskbar alongside the new ellipsis icon. Andrew Cunningham, Ars Technica, 21 July 2022 Busing of school children began in the 1970s, Burns noted (at the end of the first paragraph, where the ellipsis appears). Bill Conerly, Forbes, 15 July 2022 The exhibition functions more like an ellipsis, an open-ended invitation. Los Angeles Times, 3 Mar. 2022 For whatever reason, I’ve been drawn to ellipsis and anecdote lately and become more impatient with artful transition. Willing Davidson, The New Yorker, 20 Dec. 2021 Whether with the definitiveness of a period, an emphatic exclamation, or an inconclusive ellipsis. Roy S. Johnson | Rjohnson@al.com, al, 26 Aug. 2021 Perhaps because Martin and Hampson have so much to cover and so little time in which to do it, Feel Good concludes with more of an ellipsis than a period. Alan Sepinwall, Rolling Stone, 3 June 2021 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ellipsis.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History


Latin, from Greek elleipsis ellipsis, ellipse, from elleipein to leave out, fall short, from en in + leipein to leave — more at in, loan

First Known Use

1540, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of ellipsis was in 1540

Dictionary Entries Near ellipsis

Cite this Entry

“Ellipsis.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ellipsis. Accessed 8 Feb. 2023.

Kids Definition


el·​lip·​sis i-ˈlip-səs How to pronounce ellipsis (audio)
plural ellipses -ˈlip-ˌsēz How to pronounce ellipsis (audio)
: the leaving out of one or more words that are not necessary for a phrase to be understood
"begin when ready" for "begin when you are ready" is an example of ellipsis
: marks or a mark (as …) used to indicate that something (as words) has been left out

More from Merriam-Webster on ellipsis

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