Definition of semicolon
: a punctuation mark; used chiefly in a coordinating function between major sentence elements (such as independent clauses of a compound sentence)
Recent Examples of semicolon from the Web
Democrats have dug in over any change to the current program, solemnly declaring that changing so much as a comma or semicolon in the ACA’s expansion of the program would immediately sentence millions of children to death.
The L and the colon/semicolon keys are fine, so my right hand is acid-free, but what explains the left hand?
A semicolon is used when an author could've chosen to end their sentence, but chose not to.
Selena and the 13 Reasons Why cast (specifically Alisha Boe and Tommy Dorfman) got matching semicolons inked on their wrists—which symbolize mental health awareness and suicide prevention, issues the show deals with head on.
Here are the facts of the case, for those who may have been pinned under a semicolon.
In regard to Pound’s punctuation, using a semicolon after his first line, thus rendering the first...
Mr. Greenwell writes long sentences, pinned at the joints by semicolons, that push forward like confidently searching vines.
Both kinds begin with an ampersand (&) and end with a semicolon (;).
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'semicolon'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
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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