el·​lip·​sis | \ i-ˈlip-səs How to pronounce ellipsis (audio) , e- \
plural ellipses\ i-​ˈlip-​ˌsēz How to pronounce ellipses (audio) , e-​ \

Definition of ellipsis

1a : the omission of one or more words that are obviously understood but that must be supplied to make a construction grammatically complete
b : a sudden leap from one topic to another
2 : marks or a mark (such as … ) indicating an omission (as of words) or a pause

Examples of ellipsis in a Sentence

“Begin when ready” for “Begin when you are ready” is an example of ellipsis.
Recent Examples on the Web To younger texters: The ellipsis can be used to convey that there’s something left unsaid. Carly Mallenbaum, USA TODAY, "Is your texting punctuation sending the wrong message? Yes. Maybe! Think so ...," 28 Sep. 2020 Each ellipsis indicates the start of a different email from a different person. Mike Anthony, courant.com, "Mike Anthony: Looking at a pandemic world and a sports world with a look at my email inbox," 9 Aug. 2020 An ellipsis inevitably interjects itself whenever someone reaches out to me, the sentiment hanging like an unreciprocated high-five for a half-second too long. Soleil Ho, SFChronicle.com, "By feeding my sister, a new mother, I found a new way to connect," 7 May 2020 But Earth is an oblate spheroid, meaning a 3D shape created by an ellipsis that’s rotating around its shorter axis—like a more rounded jelly donut. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, "Sad: This Isotope Lives for Just 8 Minutes and Leaves Behind a Wobbly Nucleus," 12 Feb. 2020 The use of ellipses in this passage fueled questions about what may have been removed and why. Carol D. Leonnig, Washington Post, "Odd markings, ellipses fuel doubts about the ‘rough transcript’ of Trump’s Ukraine call," 2 Oct. 2019 Gavin Leatherwood is laughing — and speaking in ellipses. Ariana Romero, refinery29.com, "Gavin Leatherwood Knows His “Daddy” Sabrina Quote Is Destined To Be A Meme," 24 Jan. 2020 McGinn has popped up with the odd goal already this season and the 24-year-old loves a darting run into the box as much as Coleen Rooney loves an ellipsis (that's the last one now). SI.com, "Assessing 6 of the Best Fantasy Football Wildcard Options After the First 8 Weeks," 9 Oct. 2019 The second offers a future, however uncertain — an ellipsis. Ryan Kost, SFChronicle.com, "Do you really need that 401(k) for the climate apocalypse?," 3 Oct. 2019

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.

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First Known Use of ellipsis

1540, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for ellipsis

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

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Time Traveler for ellipsis

Time Traveler

The first known use of ellipsis was in 1540

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Statistics for ellipsis

Last Updated

5 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Ellipsis.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ellipsis. Accessed 29 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for ellipsis


How to pronounce ellipsis (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of ellipsis

: the act of leaving out one or more words that are not necessary for a phrase to be understood
: a sign (such as …) used in printed text to show that words have been left out

More from Merriam-Webster on ellipsis

Nglish: Translation of ellipsis for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about ellipsis

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