Definition of parenthesis in English:

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Pronunciation: /pəˈrenTHəsəs/

noun (plural parentheses /-ˌsēz/)

1A word, clause, or sentence inserted as an explanation or afterthought into a passage that is grammatically complete without it, in writing usually marked off by curved brackets, dashes, or commas.
Example sentences
  • The practice in writing and print of using a set of marks to regulate texts and clarify their meanings, principally by separating or linking words, phrases, and clauses, and by indicating parentheses and asides.
  • Even if the subordinate clauses open up a parenthesis that seems to last for ever, they do close, eventually, in a completed thought.
  • The parentheses in that sentence are meant to be tongue-in-cheek, and that's really the tone I was aiming for there: a straightforward description with a little bit of irony added.
1.1 (usually parentheses) A pair of round brackets ( ) used to mark off a parenthetical word or phrase.
Example sentences
  • Similarly, if the sentence about snow were named with the numeral 88 inside a pair of parentheses, then would be true just in case it is snowing.
  • Candidates' membership in chapters may be longer than 10 years, but only dates 10 years back are included in parentheses following an activity.
  • The gene markers included in parentheses were not mapped in our backcross; rather, approximate locations of these markers were deduced from other genetic maps.
1.2An interlude or interval: the three months of coalition government were a lamentable political parenthesis
More example sentences
  • Was it an interlude, a parenthesis, a hiccup, an embarrassment, or a beginning?
  • As political correctness irons out the parenthesis of prejudice, there will always be a special, sour dispensation for Bismark's baby; hating the Hun is perhaps the only thing that truly emulsifies the rest of us.


in parenthesis

As a digression or afterthought.
Example sentences
  • Well, as is the case for just about everything that does well on home video, the makers of Friday have concocted yet another adventure with weed in parenthesis.
  • We note in parenthesis that, when a Customs officer stated in interview that ‘I understand that it's not for your personal use’, Mr Taylor replied ‘Not all of it no’.
  • (I observe in parenthesis that the St Catherine's site was site 8).


Mid 16th century: via late Latin from Greek, from parentithenai 'put in beside'.

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