Definition of ellipsis in English:



  • 1The omission from speech or writing of a word or words that are superfluous or able to be understood from contextual clues.

    ‘it is very rare for an ellipsis to occur without a linguistic antecedent’
    mass noun ‘an example of ellipsis’
    • ‘This phenomenon is known as ellipsis and often occurs when clauses are conjuncted.’
    • ‘Here, he swaps the comforts of delicate Feldman inflections for darker textures or veers into confrontational exchanges pocked with unhinged ellipses and omissions - enough to tweak the typically unflappable Rowe.’
    • ‘Both approaches would have had their merits, although he liked the first one better, because of the word ellipses.’
    • ‘As Barbara suggests, if we change Representative Obey's ‘than it was’ to ‘than it did’ then his verb-phrase ellipsis makes sense.’
    • ‘If something is in quotes in a news story, without any indication of ellipsis, it seems to me that it ought to be a genuine quotation, not a collage of fragments from which hundreds of words have been silently omitted.’
    • ‘There are some odd ellipses mixed in with the re-orderings.’
    • ‘Add to this a method of montage favouring ellipses and assonances and one is well on the way to experiencing that giddiness which Jean Narboni has described as the essence of the ‘Godard effect’.’
    • ‘Again a shift occurs at the ellipsis: Before it, the doctor speaks monologically, addressing Golyadkin only indirectly.’
    • ‘Direct quotations are poorly copy-edited and sometimes comprehend unmarked ellipses that alter their interpretation.’
    • ‘Second, this version of the story corrects some errors in earlier versions, though it remains full of unanswered questions and strange ellipses.’
    • ‘O'Connor gives both analyses (intransitive verb and ellipsis of the object), and I think that the second one is probably right and the first one is probably not.’
    • ‘There are marked temporal interruptions and ellipses between the episodes; there are edits but they are kept to a minimum.’
    leaving out, exclusion, exception, non-inclusion, deletion, erasure, cut, excision, elimination, absence
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A set of dots (…) indicating an ellipsis.
      • ‘And where did the ellipsis in ‘emotional examples of suffering… are good ways to illustrate economic statistic stories’ first appear?’
      • ‘The ellipsis is included to indicate the presence of the dramatic and disturbing pause.’
      • ‘In my manuscript I had his quote ending with an ellipsis, but the copy editor took out all ellipses in this section and put in periods, so I assume that it is in keeping with standard editorial practices.’
      • ‘Then the numbers 1, 11, 2,…, where the ellipsis are filled by a sequence of 1's as needed, solves the puzzle.’
      • ‘The terms parenthesis, apostrophe, ellipsis, and appositive, which traditionally were rhetorical terms, have been relegated to discussions of punctuation.’
      • ‘FYI, the ellipsis in the first sentence above replaced the word ‘mechanical’, which might have given away the dated nature of the text.’
      • ‘However, an ellipsis indicates the omission of words which clearly show that the complete passage by Inglis Clark had nothing whatever to do with retrospective laws.’
      • ‘This sounds impressive, but one of the examples my ellipsis hides is ‘birds flying through trees.’’
      • ‘The ellipses serve a rhythmical function as well, indicating the ‘silence’ between phrases.’
      • ‘The ellipsis indicates that a piece of additional supporting material has been removed from the main DVD blurb, leaving us with a truncated summary of the original concept.’
      • ‘One of the most abused punctuation in casual English is perhaps the ellipsis.’
      • ‘Fortunately, Ross provides in a footnote the relevant quotation from my chapter, which I've reprinted below, except with the ellipses he uses replaced with the actual text in bold.’
      • ‘The ellipsis is a device long favoured by romance writers: three dots at the end of a sentence that say it all, as this old comedy sketch shows.’
      • ‘When she puts a comma in a sentence, adds an ellipsis, uses a semi-colon, you can bet it's a punctuation mark that belongs wherever she puts it.’
      • ‘I've tried to mark all other modifications with ellipses or brackets, but I'm sure I've made some mistakes.’
      • ‘There are no ellipses or brackets indicating that substantive edits have been made to the interview transcript.’
      • ‘This includes quotes, apostrophes, ellipses, em and en dashes, multiplication symbols, and ampersands.’
      • ‘This is very much like paraphrasing or adding an ellipsis in a sentence.’
      • ‘That's a pretty significant qualifier to eliminate with ellipses.’
      • ‘A concern to keep in mind when evaluating punctuation marks and other modifiers in digital type is unwelcome collisions and unresolved alignment between letters and brackets, braces, parentheses, quotation marks, and ellipses.’


Mid 16th century: via Latin from Greek elleipsis, from elleipein ‘leave out’.