par·​en·​thet·​i·​cal | \ ˌper-ən-ˈthe-ti-kəl How to pronounce parenthetical (audio) , ˌpa-rən- \
variants: or less commonly parenthetic \ ˌper-​ən-​ˈthe-​tik How to pronounce parenthetical (audio) , ˌpa-​rən-​ \

Definition of parenthetical

1a : of, relating to, or expressed in a parenthesis a parenthetical remark/comment/note One sentence runs on for nearly two pages; other sentences meander through the potholes of so many parenthetical expressions as to make it nearly impossible to follow the trail of the argument …— James Q. Wilson In a construction of this sort, the phrase "the coach said" should be regarded as a parenthetical insert and should be implicitly thought of as flanked by commas.— Samuel R. Levin … his travel diaries were notable for their erratic punctuation, parenthetic embellishments and an extraordinary way with adjectives.— William Dalrymple
b : enclosed in parentheses a foreign word followed by a parenthetical translation The recuperating Yankees have a parenthetical medical problem that is now part of each player's name: Hernández (elbow), Pettitte (elbow), Rivera (ankle), Mendoza (shoulder), O'Neill (foot), Justice (groin), Jeter (hamstring), Knoblauch (elbow). Put them together and it spells Yankees (problems).— Dave Anderson
2 : containing parentheses : using or given to using parentheses a parenthetical style

Other Words from parenthetical

parenthetically \ ˌper-​ən-​ˈthe-​ti-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce parenthetical (audio) , ˌpa-​rən-​ \ adverb
"They are a good nucleus of ideas for me," she says, adding, almost parenthetically, "Of course you have to know a lot about medicine to understand them." Publishers Weekly

First Known Use of parenthetical

1624, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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The first known use of parenthetical was in 1624

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Cite this Entry

“Parenthetical.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Oct. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of parenthetical

: included or added to give information which is not directly related to the main subject that is being discussed


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