Main definitions of ell in English

: ell1ell2

ell1

noun

  • A former measure of length (equivalent to six hand breadths) used mainly for textiles, locally variable but typically about 45 inches in England and 37 inches in Scotland.

    • ‘Accordingly, Edinburgh would keep the ell for linear measure, Linlithgow the firlot for dry measure, Lanark the troy stone for weight, and Stirling the jug for liquid capacity.’
    • ‘Forget the distance from the king's nose to the tip of his thumb, the aune and the ell, the befuddling patchwork of local measures in ancien régime France.’
    • ‘And we are now to each get three ells of fine fabric a year.’

Origin

Old English eln, of Germanic origin; from an Indo-European root shared by Latin ulna (see ulna). Compare with elbow and also with cubit (the measure was originally linked to the length of the human arm or forearm).

Pronunciation

ell

/ɛl/

Main definitions of ell in English

: ell1ell2

ell2

noun

  • 1Something that is L-shaped or that creates an L shape.

    • ‘Eventually, she crawls beneath the covers into the ells formed by bent legs, and instantly conks out.’
    1. 1.1North American An extension of a building or room that is at right angles to the main part.
      ‘1820 brick Federal Colonial featuring clapboard ell’
      • ‘Weston had lived in the house and used the ell as a barn.’
      • ‘It was a saltbox style building with a second saltbox attached as an ell to the first giving the inn two identical facades when viewed from a corner.’
      • ‘In June 1852 Thomas Gilmour bought a lot on Prytania Street for $6,100, and the house, which had six rooms and a service ell, was finished in 1853 at a cost of $9,500.’
      • ‘To integrate the CDP with its direct context, it was formed into a protective ell around three existing buildings.’
      • ‘The roof of the kitchen ell was raised and a suite of rooms for servants added on the second story.’
      • ‘The only houses that looked large were the ones that, over time, embraced their great slouching barns with ells.’
      • ‘The seventeenth-century ell was extended with a one-story colonial revival style porch connecting the house with a nineteenth-century barn moved to the site to house a kitchen and modern conveniences.’
      • ‘On the back ell of the large central dwelling house the two green doors were originally pictured side by side.’
      • ‘A narrow entry links this leg to the longer leg of the ell.’
      • ‘Walls of varying heights closed the remaining open sides of the ell.’
      • ‘Also, the architect Henry S. Kelly concluded in his 1931 architectural survey that the main house and ell were erected at the same time.’
      • ‘Webb had intended to re-create the tavern interior located in the ell of the Dutton House, but her plan was never implemented.’
      • ‘At some point an ell including a second, ‘summer,’ kitchen below and two rooms and storage above was attached to the original kitchen, probably during General John Winslow's ownership.’
      • ‘At one of the study farms, the spring house is attached to the house as part of the rear ell.’
      • ‘The dirt-floored ell, built to connect the house to a since-vanished barn, was a mess: low beams, discarded tractor parts, and chicken feathers.’
      • ‘At the center of the interlocking ells, a double-height arrival space with informal gallery gives access to the auditorium, and a central stair leads to the library above.’
      addition, add-on, adjunct, addendum, augmentation, supplement, appendage, appendix
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2 A bend or joint for connecting two pipes at right angles.

Pronunciation

ell

/ɛl/