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English Dictionary: parentheses by the DICT Development Group
2 results for parentheses
From Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913) [web1913]:
   Parenthesis \Pa*ren"the*sis\, n.; pl. {Parentheses}. [NL., fr.
      Gr. [?], fr. [?] to put in beside, insert; [?] beside + [?]
      in + [?] to put, place. See {Para-}, {En-}, 2, and {Thesis}.]
      1. A word, phrase, or sentence, by way of comment or
            explanation, inserted in, or attached to, a sentence which
            would be grammatically complete without it. It is usually
            inclosed within curved lines (see def. 2 below), or
            dashes. [bd]Seldom mentioned without a derogatory
            parenthesis.[b8] --Sir T. Browne.
                     Don't suffer every occasional thought to carry you
                     away into a long parenthesis.            --Watts.
      2. (Print.) One of the curved lines () which inclose a
            parenthetic word or phrase.
      Note: Parenthesis, in technical grammar, is that part of a
               sentence which is inclosed within the recognized sign;
               but many phrases and sentences which are punctuated by
               commas are logically parenthetical. In def. 1, the
               phrase [bd]by way of comment or explanation[b8] is
               inserted for explanation, and the sentence would be
               grammatically complete without it. The present tendency
               is to avoid using the distinctive marks, except when
               confusion would arise from a less conspicuous

From The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing (15Feb98) [foldoc]:
      See {left parenthesis}, {right parenthesis}.
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