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See more synonyms for ellipsis on Thesaurus.com
noun, plural el·lip·ses [ih-lip-seez] /ɪˈlɪp siz/.
  1. Grammar.
    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.
  2. Printing. a mark or marks as ——, …, or * * *, to indicate an omission or suppression of letters or words.
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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
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for ellipsis

allegory, allusion, analogy, anticlimax, antithesis, bathos, comparison, conceit, device, euphemism, euphuism, exaggeration, expression, flourish, flower, hyperbole, image, imagery, irony, metaphor

Examples from the Web for ellipsis

Contemporary Examples of ellipsis

Historical Examples of ellipsis

  • 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

British Dictionary definitions for ellipsis


noun plural -ses (-siːz)
  1. Also called: eclipsis omission of parts of a word or sentence
  2. printing a sequence of three dots (…) indicating an omission in text
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Word Origin for ellipsis

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

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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

ellipsis in Culture



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....”

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The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.