[ par-uh-graf, -grahf ]
/ ˈpær əˌgræf, -ˌgrɑf /


a distinct portion of written or printed matter dealing with a particular idea, usually beginning with an indentation on a new line.
a note, item, or brief article, as in a newspaper.

verb (used with object)

to divide into paragraphs.
to write or publish paragraphs about, as in a newspaper.
to express in a paragraph.



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Origin of paragraph

1515–25; earlier paragraphe<Greek paragraphḗ marked passage; see para-1, graph

OTHER WORDS FROM paragraph Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Example sentences from the Web for paragraph

British Dictionary definitions for paragraph

/ (ˈpærəˌɡrɑːf, -ˌɡræf) /


(in a piece of writing) one of a series of subsections each usually devoted to one idea and each usually marked by the beginning of a new line, indentation, increased interlinear space, etc
printing the character ¶, used as a reference mark or to indicate the beginning of a new paragraph
a short article in a newspaper

verb (tr)

to form into paragraphs
to express or report in a paragraph

Derived forms of paragraph

paragraphic (ˌpærəˈɡræfɪk) or paragraphical, adjectiveparagraphically, adverb

Word Origin for paragraph

C16: from Medieval Latin paragraphus, from Greek paragraphos line drawing attention to part of a text, from paragraphein to write beside, from para- 1 + graphein to write
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

Cultural definitions for paragraph


A basic unit of prose. It is usually composed of several sentences that together develop one central idea. The main sentence in a paragraph is called the topic sentence.

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.