hiatus

noun
hi·​a·​tus | \ hī-ˈā-təs How to pronounce hiatus (audio) \

Definition of hiatus

1a : a break in or as if in a material object : gap the weedy hiatus between the town and the railroad— Willa Cather the hiatus between the theory and the practice of the party— J. G. Colton
b biology : a gap or passage in an anatomical part or organ
2a : an interruption in time or continuity : break especially : a period when something (such as a program or activity) is suspended or interrupted after a 5-year hiatus from writing a summer hiatus
b : the occurrence of two vowel sounds without pause or intervening consonantal sound

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Did You Know?

Hiatus comes from "hiare," a Latin verb meaning "to gape" or "to yawn," and first appeared in English in the middle of the 16th century. Originally, the word referred to a gap or opening in something, such as a cave opening in a cliff. In the 18th century, Laurence Sterne used the word humorously in his novel Tristram Shandy, writing of "the hiatus in Phutatorius's breeches." These days, "hiatus" is usually used in a temporal sense to refer to a pause or interruption (as in a song), or a period during which an activity is temporarily suspended (such as a hiatus from teaching).

Examples of hiatus in a Sentence

The band is making an album again after a five-year hiatus. steam was rising from an hiatus in the ground

Recent Examples on the Web

How’s life been since The Veronicas went on hiatus? Alex Blynn, Billboard, "The Veronicas Return to Music: 'Life Led Us Back Together Again'," 14 June 2019 When space tourism on the ISS was first getting started in the early 2000s, only seven tourists managed to catch a ride on a Russian Soyuz rocket before the tourist program was put on hiatus. Daniel Oberhaus, WIRED, "Here’s What a $52 Million Ticket to the ISS Will Get You," 11 June 2019 Last month, soccer’s governing body in Argentina confirmed its women’s league would turn fully professional, a seismic shift given that organizational difficulties had left Argentina’s national team essentially on hiatus not so long ago. Rory Smith, New York Times, "Women’s Soccer’s Big Moment, Big-Footed by Indifference and a ‘Clerical Error’," 7 June 2019 But the performances went on a hiatus for several years during the mourning for Kim’s father and only returned last year. Washington Post, "Travel agencies say N. Korea planning to suspend mass games," 5 June 2019 When to Ride Excellence Class tickets are available year-round, though the Glacier Express is on hiatus for about two months every fall for maintenance work. Kaitlin Menza, Town & Country, "Switzerland's Most Beautiful Train Line, the Glacier Express, Has a New Luxury Car," 29 May 2019 For example, physical therapists are also great resources for new exercisers or those starting to work out again after taking a hiatus, Eleázar says. SELF, "How to Know When You Should See a Physical Therapist," 1 June 2019 Russell sees this new production as transcending the current social or political climate, even as a hiatus from the tumult of the world. Jason Zinoman, Vogue, "In Burn This, Adam Driver and Keri Russell Find Love in a Hopeless Place," 15 Apr. 2019 Now, in the year following Mitchell’s death, the company celebrates its 50th anniversary — and its triumphant return from an eight-year hiatus in 2012, after financial difficulties — with a tour. The Seattle Times, "Look Ahead: The hottest Seattle events for April 2019," 5 Apr. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'hiatus.' 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 hiatus

1563, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for hiatus

Latin, from hiare to yawn — more at yawn

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Dictionary Entries near hiatus

Hialeah

hiatal

hiatal hernia

hiatus

Hiawatha

Hib

hiba arborvitae

Statistics for hiatus

Last Updated

19 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for hiatus

The first known use of hiatus was in 1563

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More Definitions for hiatus

hiatus

noun

English Language Learners Definition of hiatus

: a period of time when something (such as an activity or program) is stopped

hiatus

noun
hi·​a·​tus | \ hī-ˈāt-əs How to pronounce hiatus (audio) \

Medical Definition of hiatus

: a gap or passage through an anatomical part or organ especially : an opening through which another part or organ passes (such as the opening in the diaphragm through which the esophagus and vagus nerves pass)

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More from Merriam-Webster on hiatus

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with hiatus

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for hiatus

Spanish Central: Translation of hiatus

Nglish: Translation of hiatus for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of hiatus for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about hiatus

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