Meaning of “clause” in the English Dictionary

"clause" in British English

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clausenoun [ C ]

uk /klɔːz/ us /klɑːz/

clause noun [ C ] (LEGAL DOCUMENT)

law a particular part of a written legal document, for example a law passed by Parliament or a contract (= an agreement):

They have added/deleted/amended a clause in the contract which says the company can make people redundant for economic reasons.
Clause 4 of the constitution is thought to be the most important section.

More examples

  • There was a penalty clause which said you had to pay half the cost if you cancelled your booking.
  • The clause was added to the contract at Carlos's request .
  • He pointed to the clause about payment.

clause noun [ C ] (GRAMMAR)

B2 specialized language a group of words, consisting of a subject and a finite form of a verb:

In the sentence "I can't cook very well but I make qu ite good pancakes", both "I can't cook very well" and "I make good pancakes" are main/independent clauses (= they are of equal importance and could each exist as a separate sentence).
In the sentence "I'll get you some stamps if I go to town", "if I go to town" is a subordinate/dependent clause (= it is not as important as the main part of the sentence and could not exist as a separate sentence).

More examples

  • In the sentence 'The woman who I met was wearing a brown hat', 'who I met' is a relative clause.
  • The sentence 'Although he's quiet, he's not shy' begins with a concessive clause.
  • A sentence might consist of a main clause and a subordinate clause, linked by a conjunction.
  • In English, a conditional clause usually begins with 'if'.
  • Students learn how to identify different clauses within a complex sentence.
  • In the sentence 'The woman who I met was wearing a brown hat', 'who I met' is a relative clause.

Grammar

(Definition of “clause” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"clause" in American English

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clausenoun [ C ]

us /klɔz/

clause noun [ C ] (GRAMMAR)

grammar a group of words that includes a subject and a verb to form a simple sentence or only part of a sentence:

"If I go to town" is a clause, but not a sentence.

clause noun [ C ] (LEGAL STATEMENT)

law a part of a written legal document:

He had a clause in his movie contract that let him work in the theater.

(Definition of “clause” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

"clause" in Business English

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(Definition of “clause” from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)