• synonyms


  1. Grammar. a syntactic construction containing a subject and predicate and forming part of a sentence or constituting a whole simple sentence.
  2. a distinct article or provision in a contract, treaty, will, or other formal or legal written document.
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Origin of clause

1175–1225; Middle English claus(e) (< Anglo-French) < Medieval Latin clausa, back formation from Latin clausula clausula
Related formsclaus·al, adjectivesub·claus·al, adjectivesub·clause, noun
Can be confusedclause claws
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for sub-clause

Historical Examples of sub-clause

  • See Bill, clauses 10-19, and note especially clause 12, sub-clause (I).

    A Leap in the Dark

    A.V. Dicey

  • The same superfluous words appeared in Sub-clause (No. 9) about Corporations.

  • See the Government of Ireland Bill, clause 25, sub-clause (a), (b) and (c).

British Dictionary definitions for sub-clause


  1. a subordinate section of a larger clause in a document, contract, etc
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  1. grammar a group of words, consisting of a subject and a predicate including a finite verb, that does not necessarily constitute a sentenceSee also main clause, subordinate clause, coordinate clause
  2. a section of a legal document such as a contract, will, or draft statute
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Derived Formsclausal, adjective

Word Origin for clause

C13: from Old French, from Medieval Latin clausa a closing (of a rhetorical period), back formation from Latin clausula, from claudere to close
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 sub-clause



c.1200, "a sentence, a brief statement, a short passage," from Old French clause "stipulation" (in a legal document), 12c., from Medieval Latin clausa "conclusion," used in the sense of classical Latin clausula "the end, a closing, termination," also "end of a sentence or a legal argument," from clausa, fem. noun from past participle of claudere "to close, to shut, to conclude" (see close (v.)). Grammatical sense is from c.1300. Legal meaning "distinct condition, stipulation, or proviso" is recorded from late 14c. in English. The sense of "ending" seems to have fallen from the word between Latin and French.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

sub-clause in Culture


A group of words in a sentence that contains a subject and predicate. (See dependent clause and independent clause.)

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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.