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.

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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

/el/

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’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘A narrow entry links this leg to the longer leg of the 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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘At one of the study farms, the spring house is attached to the house as part of the rear ell.’
      • ‘The only houses that looked large were the ones that, over time, embraced their great slouching barns with ells.’
      • ‘The roof of the kitchen ell was raised and a suite of rooms for servants added on the second story.’
      • ‘On the back ell of the large central dwelling house the two green doors were originally pictured side by side.’
      • ‘Also, the architect Henry S. Kelly concluded in his 1931 architectural survey that the main house and ell were erected at the same time.’
      • ‘Walls of varying heights closed the remaining open sides of the ell.’
      • ‘Weston had lived in the house and used the ell as a barn.’
      • ‘Webb had intended to re-create the tavern interior located in the ell of the Dutton House, but her plan was never implemented.’
      • ‘To integrate the CDP with its direct context, it was formed into a protective ell around three existing buildings.’
      • ‘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.’
    2. 1.2North American A bend or joint for connecting two pipes at right angles.

Pronunciation:

ell

/el/