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.

    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’
      addition, add-on, adjunct, addendum, augmentation, supplement, appendage, appendix
    2. 1.2A bend or joint for connecting two pipes at right angles.

Pronunciation

ell

/ɛl/