Pronunciation key

( ekspli-tiv )



[LL. expletivus serving to fill < L. expletus, pp. of explere, to fill; ex-, out, up + plere, to fill].

  1. Oath or exclamation that is typically obscene or profane.
  2. Word, phrase, etc. that does not contribute to the sense or meaning of a phrase but used merely to fill out a sentence or metrical line, for rhythm, balance, etc.
  3. A word that stands alone with anticipation of following words or a phrase such as "There are many cars in the parking lot." The word There serves as an expletive.


  1. Added or inserted to fill out a sentence, metrical line, etc.


  • Webster's New World Dictionary of the American Language (College Edition) ©1955
  • The American Heritage Dictionary, Second College Edition ©1985
  • Further Reading

  • expletory
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