parenthesis

play
noun pa·ren·the·sis \pə-ˈren(t)-thə-səs\

Definition of parenthesis

plural

parentheses

play \-ˌsēz\
  1. 1a :  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 parenthesisb :  a remark or passage that departs from the theme of a discourse :  digression The speaker inserted some often amusing parentheses during his speech.

  2. 2 :  interlude, interval The parenthesis of war interrupted the course of his life.

  3. 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 \-tik\ adjective

parenthetically

play \-ti-k(ə-)lē\ adverb

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


First Known Use: 1548

Other Grammar and Linguistics Terms


PARENTHESIS Defined for English Language Learners

parenthesis

play
noun pa·ren·the·sis \pə-ˈren(t)-thə-səs\

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

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

Definition of parenthesis for Students

plural

parentheses

\-ˌsēz\
  1. :  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


Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up parenthesis? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

a mode of satirical wit

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

  • manet-jeanne-spring
  • Which is a synonym of chaffer?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ