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[klawz] /klɔz/
Grammar. a syntactic construction containing a subject and predicate and forming part of a sentence or constituting a whole simple sentence.
a distinct article or provision in a contract, treaty, will, or other formal or legal written document.
Origin of clause
1175-1225; Middle English claus(e) (< Anglo-French) < Medieval Latin clausa, back formation from Latin clausula clausula
Related forms
clausal, adjective
subclausal, adjective
subclause, noun
Can be confused
clause, claws. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for clauses
  • They have to have by-laws with clauses that renounce poaching and to adopt a technique they call conservation farming.
  • The second sentence was a series of independent clauses concatenated with semicolons.
  • In effect, regulatory elements introduce the possibility of environmentally modulated if-then clauses.
  • Used between independent clauses, it indicates only that a relation exists between them without defining that relation.
  • All those cases were settled, with confidentiality clauses.
  • Syllabus clauses warning against the misuse of technology are increasingly common.
  • We include clauses about dishonesty, disability accommodations, and procedures to report offensive language and actions.
  • For years, it has happily negotiated contracts with generous salary increases and no-layoff clauses.
  • There is no need here for involved rhyming and qualifying clauses--that is the function of the music.
  • As the name suggests, these are clauses which mean that rents can only go up or stay the same when they come up for review.
British Dictionary definitions for clauses


(grammar) a group of words, consisting of a subject and a predicate including a finite verb, that does not necessarily constitute a sentence See also main clause, subordinate clause, coordinate clause
a section of a legal document such as a contract, will, or draft statute
Derived Forms
clausal, adjective
Word Origin
C13: from Old French, from Medieval Latin clausa a closing (of a rhetorical period), back formation from Latin clausula, from claudere to close
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for clauses



c.1200, "a sentence, a brief statement, a short passage," from Old French clause "stipulation" (in a legal document), 12c., from Medieval Latin clausa "conclusion," used in the sense of classical Latin clausula "the end, a closing, termination," also "end of a sentence or a legal argument," from clausa, fem. noun from past participle of claudere "to close, to shut, to conclude" (see close (v.)). Grammatical sense is from c.1300. Legal meaning "distinct condition, stipulation, or proviso" is recorded from late 14c. in English. The sense of "ending" seems to have fallen from the word between Latin and French.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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clauses in Culture

clause definition

A group of words in a sentence that contains a subject and predicate. (See dependent clause and independent clause.)

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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