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[puh-ren-thuh-sis] /pəˈrɛn θə sɪs/
noun, plural parentheses
[puh-ren-thuh-seez] /pəˈrɛn θəˌsiz/ (Show IPA)
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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Examples for parenthesis
  • In parenthesis was a notation that the word is a contemptuous colloquialism.
  • Oh, and above, that's a colon placed properly within a parenthesis not a smiley.
  • Btw, your parenthesis format for comments is a royal pain to read, particularly when you're in a hurry.
  • Until this moment my conception of arch shape had been uncomplicated: a single sideways parenthesis, more or less.
  • Your explanation in parenthesis would result in everybody paying the same dollar amount in taxes.
  • Sorry for the rant and the excessive use of parenthesis, my thoughts were scattered.
  • Enter phone number without parenthesis, spaces or hyphens.
  • Sources are listed in parenthesis after the definition.
  • It is not necessary to include parenthesis or dashes.
  • Content is refreshed at the times shown in parenthesis above.
British Dictionary definitions for parenthesis


noun (pl) -ses (-ˌsiːz)
a phrase, often explanatory or qualifying, inserted into a passage with which it is not grammatically connected, and marked off by brackets, dashes, etc
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
an intervening occurrence; interlude; interval
in parenthesis, inserted as a parenthesis
Derived Forms
parenthetic (ˌpærənˈθɛtɪk), parenthetical, adjective
parenthetically, adverb
Word Origin
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 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 parenthesis
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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