[ puh-ren-thuh-sis ]
See synonyms for: parenthesisparentheses on

noun,plural pa·ren·the·ses [puh-ren-thuh-seez]. /pəˈrɛn θəˌsiz/.
  1. 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.

  2. Usually parentheses. the material contained within these marks.

  1. 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.

  2. an interval.

Origin of parenthesis

1560–70; <Late Latin <Greek parénthesis a putting in beside. See par-, en-2, thesis

Words Nearby parenthesis Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use parenthesis in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for parenthesis


/ (pəˈrɛnθɪsɪs) /

nounplural -ses (-ˌsiːz)
  1. a phrase, often explanatory or qualifying, inserted into a passage with which it is not grammatically connected, and marked off by brackets, dashes, etc

  2. 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

  1. an intervening occurrence; interlude; interval

  2. in parenthesis inserted as a parenthesis

Origin of parenthesis

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

Derived forms of parenthesis

  • parenthetic (ˌpærənˈθɛtɪk) or parenthetical, adjective
  • parenthetically, adverb

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