Definition of semicolon
: a punctuation mark; used chiefly in a coordinating function between major sentence elements (such as independent clauses of a compound sentence)
Did You Know?
The semicolon was introduced into modern type by an Italian printer around 1566. But since it's actually the same symbol as the ancient Greek question mark, it's older than the colon (:), which first appears around 1450. Don't mix the two up. A colon introduces something: usually a list, sometimes a statement. A semicolon separates two independent but related clauses; it may also replace the comma to separate items in a complicated list.
First Known Use of semicolon
SEMICOLON Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of semicolon for English Language Learners
: the punctuation mark ; that is used to separate major parts in a sentence and to separate items in a series if the items contain commas
SEMICOLON Defined for Kids
Definition of semicolon for Students
: a punctuation mark ; that can be used to separate parts of a sentence which need clearer separation than would be shown by a comma, to separate main clauses which have no conjunction between, and to separate phrases and clauses containing commas
Seen and Heard
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