parenthesis
Pronunciation
  • IPA: /pəˈɹɛnθəsɪs/
Noun

parenthesis

  1. A clause, phrase or word which is inserted (usually for explanation or amplification) into a passage which is already grammatically complete, and usually marked off with brackets, commas or dashes.
  2. Either of a pair of brackets, especially round brackets, ( and ) (used to enclose parenthetical material in a text).
    • 1824, J. Johnson, Typographia:
      There be five manner of points and divisions most used among cunning men; the which if they be well used, make the sentence very light and easy to be understood, both to the reader and hearer: and they be these, virgil,—come,—parenthesis,—plain point,—interrogative... it is a slender stroke leaning forward, betokening a little short rest, without any perfectness yet of sentence.
    • 1842, F. Francillon, An Essay on Punctuation ↗, p. 9 ↗:
      Whoever introduced the several points, it seems that a full-point, a point called come, answering to our colon-point, a point called virgil answering to our comma-point, the parenthesis-points and interrogative-point, were used at the close of the fourteenth, or beginning of the fifteenth century.
  3. (rhetoric) A digression; the use of such digressions.
    • 2009, Up in the air:
      Ryan Bingham: I thought I was a part of your life. Alex Goran: I thought we signed up for the same thing... I thought our relationship was perfectly clear. You are an escape. You're a break from our normal lives. You're a parenthesis. Ryan Bingham: I'm a parenthesis?
  4. (mathematics, logic) Such brackets as used to clarify expressions by grouping those terms affected by a common operator, or to enclose the components of a vector or the elements of a matrix.
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