noun, plural parentheses [puh-ren-thuh-seez] .
either or both of a pair of signs () used in writing to mark off an interjected explanatory or qualifying remark, to indicate separate groupings of symbols in mathematics and symbolic logic, etc.
Usually, parentheses. the material contained within these marks.
Grammar. a qualifying, explanatory, or appositive word, phrase, clause, or sentence that interrupts a syntactic construction without otherwise affecting it, having often a characteristic intonation and indicated in writing by commas, parentheses, or dashes, as in William Smith—you must know him—is coming tonight.
an interval.

1560–70; < Late Latin < Greek parénthesis a putting in beside. See par-, en-2, thesis Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
parenthesis (pəˈrɛnθɪsɪs)
n , pl -ses
1.  a phrase, often explanatory or qualifying, inserted into a passage with which it is not grammatically connected, and marked off by brackets, dashes, etc
2.  Also called: bracket either of a pair of characters, (), used to enclose such a phrase or as a sign of aggregation in mathematical or logical expressions
3.  an intervening occurrence; interlude; interval
4.  in parenthesis inserted as a parenthesis
[C16: via Late Latin from Greek: something placed in besides, from parentithenai, from para-1 + en-² + tithenai to put]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

1550, "words, clauses, etc. inserted into a sentence," from M.Fr. parenthèse, from L.L. parenthesis "addition of a letter to a syllable in a word," from Gk. parenthesis, lit. "a putting in beside," from parentithenai "put in beside," from para- "beside" + en- "in" + tithenai "put, place," from
PIE base *dhe- "to put, to do" (see factitious). Extension of the word to the curved brackets that indicate the words inserted is from 1715.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary

parentheses definition

Punctuation marks — ( ) — used to separate elements in a sentence. Parentheses subordinate (see subordination) the material within them so that readers save most of their attention for the rest of the sentence: “Aunt Sarah (who is really my mother's cousin) will be visiting next week.”

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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Computing Dictionary

parentheses definition

See left parenthesis, right parenthesis.

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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Example sentences
Here are restaurants that plan to open later this year or early next year, on the dates in parentheses.
The other permitted alternative was to spell out the name and then give the acronym in parentheses.
If the trade name differs from the common name, it is given in parentheses.
Their developers or producers are listed in parentheses.
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