1. A distinct division of written or printed matter that begins on a new, usually indented line, consists of one or more sentences, and typically deals with a single thought or topic or quotes one speaker's continuous words.
2. A mark ( ¶ ) used to indicate where a new paragraph should begin or to serve as a reference mark.
3. A brief article, notice, or announcement, as in a newspaper.
tr.v. par·a·graphed, par·a·graph·ing, par·a·graphs
To divide or arrange into paragraphs.
[Middle English paragraf, from Old French paragrafe, from Medieval Latin paragraphus, from Greek paragraphos, line showing a break in sense or a change of speakers in a dialogue, from paragraphein, to write beside : para-, beside; see PARA-1 + graphein, to write; see gerbh- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
par′a·graphic, par′a·graphi·cal adj.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.