• synonyms


[ob-uh-luh s]
noun, plural ob·e·li [ob-uh-lahy] /ˈɒb əˌlaɪ/.
  1. a mark (− or ÷) used in ancient manuscripts to point out spurious, corrupt, doubtful, or superfluous words or passages.
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Origin of obelus

1350–1400; Middle English < Late Latin < Greek obelós spit, pointed pillar
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for obelus

Historical Examples of obelus

  • In his peculiar notation, Asides are marked by inverted commas, and obvious stage business is indicated by an obelus.

    The Works of William Shakespeare [Cambridge Edition] [9 vols.]

    William Shakespeare

  • But such was not the usage of Budaeus; he employed the obelus merely to call attention to something that interested him.

    A Sixth-Century Fragment of the Letters of Pliny the Younger

    Elias Avery Lowe and Edward Kennard Rand

British Dictionary definitions for obelus


noun plural -li (-ˌlaɪ)
  1. a mark (— or ÷) used in editions of ancient documents to indicate spurious words or passages
  2. another name for dagger (def. 2)
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Word Origin for obelus

C14: via Late Latin from Greek obelos spit
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