Dictionary > English Dictionary > Definition, synonym and antonym of clause
Meaning of clause by Wiktionary Dictionary



    From Middle English, from Medieval Latin clausa ( Latin diminutive clausula ( “a clause, close of a period” ) ), from Latin clausus, past participle of claudere ( “to shut, close” ); see close .


    • IPA: /klɔːz/
    • Rhymes: -ɔːz
    • Homophone: claws


    clause ( plural: clauses )

    1. ( Can we clean up( + ) this sense? ) ( grammar, informal ) A group of two or more words which include a subject and any necessary predicate ( the predicate also includes a verb, conjunction, or a preposition ) to begin the clause; however, this clause is not considered a sentence for colloquial purposes .
    2. ( grammar ) A verb along with its subject and their modifiers. If a clause provides a complete thought on its own, then it is an independent ( superordinate ) clause; otherwise, it is ( subordinate )dependent .
    3. ( law ) A separate part of a contract, a will or another legal document .

    Usage notes

    In When it got dark, they went back into the house, “When it got dark” is a dependent clause within the complete sentence. The independent clause "they went back into the house" could stand alone as a sentence, whereas the dependent clause could not .

    Related terms


    clause ( third-person singular simple present clauses present participle clausing, simple past and past participle claused )

    1. ( transitive, shipping ) To amend ( a bill of lading or similar document ).

    External links

    • clause in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913
    • clause in The Century Dictionary, The Century Co., New York, 1911

Explanation of clause by Wordnet Dictionary


    1. an expression including a subject and predicate but not constituting a complete sentence

    2. a separate section of a legal document ( as a statute or contract or will )

    Definition of clause by GCIDE Dictionary


    1. Clause n. [F. clause, LL. clausa, equiv. to L. clausula clause, prop., close of rhetorical period, close, fr. claudere to shut, to end. See Close.]
      1. A separate portion of a written paper, paragraph, or sentence; an article, stipulation, or proviso, in a legal document.

      The usual attestation clause to a will. Bouvier.

      2. ( Gram. ) A subordinate portion or a subdivision of a sentence containing a subject and its predicate.

    2. Clause, n. [Obs.] See Letters clause or Letters close, under Letter.