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[ih-lip-sis] /ɪˈlɪp sɪs/
noun, plural ellipses
[ih-lip-seez] /ɪˈlɪp siz/ (Show IPA)
  1. the omission from a sentence or other construction of one or more words that would complete or clarify the construction, as the omission of who are, while I am, or while we are from I like to interview people sitting down.
  2. the omission of one or more items from a construction in order to avoid repeating the identical or equivalent items that are in a preceding or following construction, as the omission of been to Paris from the second clause of I've been to Paris, but they haven't.
Printing. a mark or marks as ——, …, or * * *, to indicate an omission or suppression of letters or words.
Origin of ellipsis
1560-70; < Latin ellīpsis < Greek élleipsis an omission, equivalent to el- (variant of en- en-2) + leip- (stem of leípein to leave) + -sis -sis Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for ellipsis
Contemporary Examples
  • But I noticed that when you quoted this section on page 116, you left “general welfare” out and put an ellipsis in its place.

Historical Examples
  • An oval is never mistaken for a circle, nor an hyperbola for an ellipsis.

  • He left the ellipsis to be filled in by the corpulent blackguard's intelligence.

    The Black Bag Louis Joseph Vance
  • It's no good having an ellipsis, if they don't keep it clean.

    A Tangled Tale Lewis Carroll
  • Supply the ellipsis, and we have, "Whether he is there or no there."

    The Verbalist Thomas Embly Osmun, (AKA Alfred Ayres)
  • "As soon as I've seen—" and a significant nod supplied the ellipsis.

    Warrior Gap Charles King
  • It does not appear to be an ellipsis and has thus been removed.

  • What is pleonasm in a single sentence is ellipsis in a double one.

    A Handbook of the English Language Robert Gordon Latham
  • An ellipsis or omission of words is found in all kinds of composition.

    Why We Punctuate William Livingston Klein
  • Soccer is one of the relatively few English experiments in ellipsis.

    The American Language Henry L. Mencken
British Dictionary definitions for ellipsis


noun (pl) -ses (-siːz)
Also called eclipsis. omission of parts of a word or sentence
(printing) a sequence of three dots (…) indicating an omission in text
Word Origin
C16: from Latin, from Greek elleipsis omission, from elleipein to leave out, from leipein to leave
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 ellipsis

1560s, "an ellipse," from Latin ellipsis, from Greek elleipsis "a falling short, defect, ellipse," from elleipein "to fall short, leave out," from en- "in" + leipein "to leave" (see relinquish). Grammatical sense first recorded 1610s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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ellipsis in Culture
ellipsis [(i-lip-sis)]

A punctuation mark (...) used most often within quotations to indicate that something has been left out. For example, if we leave out parts of the above definition, it can read: “A punctuation mark (...) used most often ... to indicate....”

The 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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