parenthesis

[ puh-ren-thuh-sis ]
/ pəˈrɛn θə sɪs /

noun, plural pa·ren·the·ses [puh-ren-thuh-seez] /pəˈrɛn θəˌsiz/.

either or both of a pair of signs ( ) used in writing to mark off an interjected explanatory or qualifying remark, to indicate separate groupings of symbols in mathematics and symbolic logic, etc.
Usually parentheses. the material contained within these marks.
Grammar. a qualifying, explanatory, or appositive word, phrase, clause, or sentence that interrupts a syntactic construction without otherwise affecting it, having often a characteristic intonation and indicated in writing by commas, parentheses, or dashes, as in William Smith—you must know him—is coming tonight.
an interval.

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Origin of parenthesis

1560–70; < Late Latin < Greek parénthesis a putting in beside. See par-, en-2, thesis
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Example sentences from the Web for parentheses

British Dictionary definitions for parentheses

parenthesis
/ (pəˈrɛnθɪsɪs) /

noun plural -ses (-ˌsiːz)

a phrase, often explanatory or qualifying, inserted into a passage with which it is not grammatically connected, and marked off by brackets, dashes, etc
Also called: bracket either of a pair of characters, (), used to enclose such a phrase or as a sign of aggregation in mathematical or logical expressions
an intervening occurrence; interlude; interval
in parenthesis inserted as a parenthesis

Derived forms of parenthesis

parenthetic (ˌpærənˈθɛtɪk) or parenthetical, adjectiveparenthetically, adverb

Word Origin for parenthesis

C16: via Late Latin from Greek: something placed in besides, from parentithenai, from para- 1 + en- ² + tithenai to put
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 parentheses

parentheses

Punctuation marks — ( ) — used to separate elements in a sentence. Parentheses subordinate (see subordination) the material within them so that readers save most of their attention for the rest of the sentence: “Aunt Sarah (who is really my mother's cousin) will be visiting next week.”

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.