- an extension usually at right angles to one end of a building.
- elbow(def 5).
- something that is L-shaped.
Origin of ell1
- a former measure of length, varying in different countries: in England equal to 45 inches (114 cm).
Origin of ell2
Examples from the Web for ell
At Lyons, material was sometimes sold for as much as six hundred francs an ell.The Dream
Gawd love you, guv'nor, they'd fight 'ell's blazes, them chaps would!Changing Winds
St. John G. Ervine
The ell is used as a kitchen, dining-room and storehouse combined.Chit-Chat; Nirvana; The Searchlight
Mathew Joseph Holt
The room was a fairly large one, situated in an ell at the rear of the building.The Film of Fear
Back of the main portion of the saloon was an ell, and it was in this ell that the fire had started.Cap'n Eri
Joseph Crosby Lincoln
- an obsolete unit of length equal to approximately 45 inches
- an extension to a building, usually at right angles and located at one end
- a pipe fitting, pipe, or tube with a sharp right-angle bend
Word Origin and History for ell
"unit of measure of 45 inches," Old English eln, originally "forearm, length of the arm" (as a measure, anywhere from a foot and a half to two feet), from PIE *el- (1) "elbow, forearm" (cf. Greek olene "elbow," Latin ulna, Armenian uln "shoulder," Sanskrit anih "part of the leg above the knee," Lithuanian alkune "elbow").
The exact distance varied, depending on whose arm was used as the base and whether it was measured from the shoulder to the fingertip or the wrist: the Scottish ell was 37.2 inches, the Flemish 27 inches. Latin ulna also was a unit of linear measure, and cf. cubit.
Whereas shee tooke an inche of liberty before, tooke an ell afterwardes [Humfrey Gifford, "A Posie of Gilloflowers," 1580].
type of building extension, 1773, American English; so called for resemblance to the shape of the alphabet letter.