[par-uh-graf, -grahf]


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.

Nearby words

  1. paragonimus,
  2. paragonimus westermani,
  3. paragonite,
  4. paragould,
  5. paragrammatism,
  6. paragraph mark,
  7. paragrapher,
  8. paragraphia,
  9. paragraphic,
  10. paraguay

Origin of paragraph

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

Related forms Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for paragraph

British Dictionary definitions for paragraph



(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 Formsparagraphic (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

Word Origin and History for paragraph



late 15c., from Middle French paragraphe "division of text" (13c., Old French paragrafe), from Medieval Latin paragraphus "sign for start of a new section of discourse" (the sign looked something like a stylized letter -P-), from Greek paragraphos "short stroke in the margin marking a break in sense," also "a passage so marked," literally "anything written beside," from paragraphein "write by the side," from para- "beside" (see para- (1)) + graphein "to write" (see -graphy).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Culture 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.