pa·​ren·​the·​sis | \ pə-ˈren(t)-thə-səs How to pronounce parenthesis (audio) \
plural parentheses\ pə-​ˈren(t)-​thə-​ˌsēz How to pronounce parentheses (audio) \

Definition of parenthesis

1a : an amplifying (see amplify sense 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.

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Examples of parenthesis in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Baseball Top 10 With current records and previous rankings in parentheses. 1. Mike Hutton, Post-Tribune, "Baseball notes: William Roberts leads Washington Township under the watchful eyes of his father and brother," 7 June 2019 Baseball Top 10 With records through Wednesday and previous rankings in parentheses1. Mike Hutton, Post-Tribune, "Hutton: Kaleb Foster finds 'Field of Dreams' late, but makes up for lost time with the Portage baseball team," 24 May 2018 Baseball Top 10 Records through Wednesday, with previous rankings in parentheses1. Pat Disabato, Daily Southtown, "Baseball notes: Illinois-bound shortstop Branden Comia sets sights on Do It Stevie's Way Tournament finals," 17 May 2018 The new line comes in six $22 scents based around the themes above, the variations of which are most fun to read with their Insta equivalent in parentheses. Rachel Nussbaum, Glamour, "Clinique Is Revamping Its Iconic Happy Perfume," 6 Sep. 2018 Here are the final Sentinel Super Six softball rankings of the season with win-loss records in parenthesis: Softball Super Six 1. J.c. Carnahan,, "State champion Hagerty finishes atop Sentinel Super Six softball rankings," 6 June 2018 Below is the order in which those Florida groomed players appeared on Kiper's list, with their ranking by Mayock in parenthesis (if applicable). Jordan Mcpherson, miamiherald, "The state of Florida should be well represented in the NFL Draft | Miami Herald," 25 Apr. 2018 Fair organizers have provided The Bee with a list of new and unique edibles for this year's event and some are shown below (vendor in parentheses). Daniel Wilson, sacbee, "What’s new at the California State Fair? Here’s everything you need to know," 13 July 2018 Iowa Corn 300 qualifying results Order listed with qualifying position, car number in parentheses, driver, chassis-engine, and speed in mph. 1. Jim Ayello, Indianapolis Star, "Insider: Will Power keeps collecting poles as drivers expect 'pretty good show' in Iowa," 7 July 2018

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.

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First Known Use of parenthesis

1548, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for parenthesis

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

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Statistics for parenthesis

Last Updated

10 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for parenthesis

The first known use of parenthesis was in 1548

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More Definitions for parenthesis



English Language Learners Definition of parenthesis

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


pa·​ren·​the·​sis | \ pə-ˈren-thə-səs How to pronounce parenthesis (audio) \
plural parentheses\ -​ˌsēz \

Kids Definition of parenthesis

: 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

Other Words from parenthesis

parenthetical \ -​ti-​kəl \ adjective

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