1 of 3

noun (1)

: 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


2 of 3

noun (2)

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


3 of 3


English language learner; English language learning

Word History


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

First Known Use

Noun (1)

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

Noun (2)

1773, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near ell

Cite this Entry

“Ell.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ell. Accessed 25 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 noun
: a former English unit of length for cloth equal to 45 inches (1.1 meters)


2 of 2 noun
: a part of a building that extends at right angles to the main part

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