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[par-uh-graf, -grahf] /ˈpær əˌgræf, -ˌgrɑf/
a distinct portion of written or printed matter dealing with a particular idea, usually beginning with an indentation on a new line.
a note, item, or brief article, as in a newspaper.
verb (used with object)
to divide into paragraphs.
to write or publish paragraphs about, as in a newspaper.
to express in a paragraph.
1515-25; earlier paragraphe < Greek paragraphḗ marked passage; see para-1, graph
Related forms
paragraphism, noun
[par-uh-gruh-fis-ti-kuh l] /ˌpær ə grəˈfɪs tɪ kəl/ (Show IPA),
subparagraph, noun
unparagraphed, adjective
well-paragraphed, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for paragraph
  • It will immediately set your statement apart from those-and they are legion-that begin with a standard expository paragraph.
  • Any honest paragraph of straightforward explanation will usually require a good three pages of caveats and disclaimers.
  • Ask them to read this paragraph and list the hammerhead's main food sources.
  • Not to mention the spurious comma in the second sentence of the second paragraph.
  • There are a number of words in this paragraph count the words and you'll have a good start.
  • The first paragraph of this post seems too concessionary to me.
  • Ask students to write a paragraph describing what their drawings show.
  • Both sentences in the last paragraph are frustratingly vague.
  • When the spoiler paragraph was presented as part of the story, there was no additional benefit to reader enjoyment.
  • It has a photo of the artist, two more images of artwork, and a paragraph about them.
British Dictionary definitions for paragraph


/ˈpærəˌɡrɑːf; -ˌɡræf/
(in a piece of writing) one of a series of subsections each usually devoted to one idea and each usually marked by the beginning of a new line, indentation, increased interlinear space, etc
(printing) the character ¶, used as a reference mark or to indicate the beginning of a new paragraph
a short article in a newspaper
verb (transitive)
to form into paragraphs
to express or report in a paragraph
Derived Forms
paragraphic (ˌpærəˈɡræfɪk), paragraphical, adjective
paragraphically, adverb
Word Origin
C16: from Medieval Latin paragraphus, from Greek paragraphos line drawing attention to part of a text, from paragraphein to write beside, from para-1 + graphein to write
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 paragraph

late 15c., from Middle French paragraphe "division of text" (13c., Old French paragrafe), from Medieval Latin paragraphus "sign for start of a new section of discourse" (the sign looked something like a stylized letter -P-), from Greek paragraphos "short stroke in the margin marking a break in sense," also "a passage so marked," literally "anything written beside," from paragraphein "write by the side," from para- "beside" (see para- (1)) + graphein "to write" (see -graphy).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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paragraph in Culture

paragraph definition

A basic unit of prose. It is usually composed of several sentences that together develop one central idea. The main sentence in a paragraph is called the topic sentence.

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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