parenthesis

noun pa·ren·the·sis \ pə-ˈren(t)-thə-səs \
Updated on: 16 Dec 2017

Definition of parenthesis

plural parentheses play \pə-ˈren(t)-thə-ˌsēz\
1 a : an amplifying (see amplify 1) or explanatory word, phrase, or sentence inserted in a passage from which it is usually set off by punctuation
  • explained further in a parenthesis
b : a remark or passage that departs from the theme of a discourse : digression
  • The speaker inserted some often amusing parentheses during his speech.
2 : interlude, interval
  • The parenthesis of war interrupted the course of his life.
3 : one or both of the curved marks ( ) used in writing and printing to enclose a parenthetical expression or to group a symbolic unit in a logical or mathematical expression
  • The plant's common name is followed by its Latin name in parentheses.

parenthetical

play \ˌper-ən-ˈthe-ti-kəl, pa-rən-\ or less commonly parenthetic play \ˌper-ən-ˈthe-tik, pa-rən-\ adjective

parenthetically

play \ˌper-ən-ˈthe-ti-k(ə-)lē, pa-rən-\ adverb

Recent Examples of parenthesis from the Web

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

Origin and Etymology of parenthesis

Late Latin, from Greek, literally, act of inserting, from parentithenai to insert, from para- + en- en- + tithenai to place — more at do

Other Grammar and Linguistics Terms


PARENTHESIS Defined for English Language Learners

parenthesis

noun

Definition of parenthesis for English Language Learners

  • : one of a pair of marks ( ) that are used around a word, phrase, sentence, number, etc.


PARENTHESIS Defined for Kids

parenthesis

noun pa·ren·the·sis \ pə-ˈren-thə-səs \

Definition of parenthesis for Students

plural parentheses \-ˌsēz\
: one of a pair of marks ( ) used to enclose a word or group of words or to group mathematical terms to be dealt with as a unit

parenthetical

\-ti-kəl\ adjective


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