serial comma

noun

variants or less commonly series comma
: a comma used to separate the second-to-last item in a list from a final item introduced by the conjunction and or or
If you've always used the serial comma—"red, white, and blue"—its absence can look slipshod and lazy. If you were taught the more streamlined AP style—"red, white and blue"—the extra comma may seem fussy and pretentious.Jan Freeman, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 3 Apr. 2011

called also Harvard comma, Oxford comma

Word History

First Known Use

1922, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of serial comma was in 1922

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Dictionary Entries Near serial comma

Cite this Entry

“Serial comma.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/serial%20comma. Accessed 22 May. 2024.

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