Suppose there is a long sentence like:

This London hit show took America by storm, full of charm, humour and delightful songs that make it a perfect theatrical event for the entire family.

And you want to cut it off after an arbitrary specified amount of characters like so:

This London hit show took America by storm, full of charm, humour and delightful songs that make...

What is the name for the missing text indicated by the three-dot ellipsis?

  • possible duplicate of Is there a term to describe words missing in a document?
    – phenry
    Aug 28, 2014 at 21:16
  • @DanBron Many linguists distinguish between elide and ellipt, reserving the former for the omission of a sound or sounds and the latter for the omission of a word or words. In that sense, ellipted works but elided would be inappropriate.
    – user28567
    Aug 29, 2014 at 9:06

7 Answers 7


an omission or to omit a part of the sentence use an ellipsis

Ellipsis (plural ellipses; from the Ancient Greek: ἔλλειψις, élleipsis, "omission" or "falling short") is a series of dots that usually indicates an intentional omission of a word, sentence, or whole section from a text without altering its original meaning.

From the Wiki for Ellipsis

  • I'm not sure which version of the question this is attempting to answer. If it's saying that "omission" means the words that were removed, as the current version of the question asks, that doesn't seem to be supported by the quotation given.
    – LarsH
    Aug 29, 2014 at 1:50
  • if I put the right form of the word in there (omitted) would that satisfy the question more thoroughly, @LarsH?
    – Malachi
    Aug 29, 2014 at 3:35
  • It really depends on what version or aspect of the question you're trying to answer: the one that asks what "..." is called? or the one that asks what the removed words are called? or the one (if there is one) that asks what the act of removing words is called?
    – LarsH
    Aug 29, 2014 at 4:01
  • Basically the quote doesn't address the question as it stands now, which is asking what the words that have been replaced by the ellipsis are referred to. "Omission" may well be an appropriate term for this, it's just not supported by that quote.
    – guest34491
    Aug 29, 2014 at 12:47
  • I think that the quote is sufficient, it says that the ... represents(indicates) an intentional omission of content, or another way of saying this is an ellipsis represents omitted content.
    – Malachi
    Aug 29, 2014 at 13:05

The elided material. I would be tempted to say the elision, but I haven't found evidence that the noun is actually used in that way --maybe we could pioneer that usage.

  • that's pretty damned good! But this question has inspired a question english.stackexchange.com/questions/193787
    – Fattie
    Aug 28, 2014 at 16:58
  • But it is not elided, it is elliptical. An elision is shorter and combines things that become adjacent, or brings things together that seem to go together, without admitting the omission. Aug 28, 2014 at 17:29
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    The removed material is stored in the Elision Fields. Aug 28, 2014 at 23:50

Since you're already familiar with orthographic term "ellipses" and (apparently) aren't looking for the editorial acts "elision", "excision", "truncation", "deletion" or @Malachi's perfectly suited "omission", maybe you're looking for a term which describes the elipsis' semantic role?

If so, I'd call ... the typographical analog to the "jump", "fold", or "spill line"; it teases or leads the reader into wanting to know more, so maybe you want to call it a "teaser".


The characters themselves are called ellipses (singular form ellipsis).

As for the term for the type of the characters... "truncation symbols"?

  • 1
    The OP specifically said he wasn't asking for that term. Aug 28, 2014 at 14:28
  • 2
    @FumbleFingers The OP altered his question after I posted my answer. I'm not sure what to do with my answer now. I've made an educated guess, but I'm not sure.
    – Pimgd
    Aug 28, 2014 at 14:42
  • 1
    As it happens, I remembered there'd been a question asking for Name of 3 dots to indicate a pause in speech ages ago, so I went looking for it and was just about to closevote as a duplicate when I noticed the edit. It does sometimes create a mess when people don't think their question through. If I were in your position I'd delete the answer, but I've no idea whether there's a site consensus on that. Maybe someone should start a discussion post about it on meta. Aug 28, 2014 at 15:05
  • 1
    Truncation symbols wasn't a bad name for them. Aug 28, 2014 at 17:44

Elided text sprang to mind.

However, Chicago Manual of Style (13th ed), section 10.36 says

Any omission of a word or phrase, line or paragraph, from within a quoted passage must be indicated by ellipsis points (dots), also called suspension points....

(Note that I used 4 dots, as the last part of the sentence was omitted.)

So the CMoS is calling the missing text an omission consistently from 10.36 to 10.46.

  • 1
    (I understand that @Malachi offered omission already, but I wanted to add the CMoS reference.)
    – rajah9
    Aug 28, 2014 at 18:55
  • This quotation doesn't seem clearly to indicate that the missing text is called an omission; rather, it sounds like the action of removing text is referred to as an omission.
    – LarsH
    Aug 29, 2014 at 1:46
  • Other quotes, "The first method is, briefly, to use three dots for any omission, regardless of whether it comes in the middle of a sentence or between sentences" (10.38) "The second method distinguishes between omissions within a sentence and omissions between sentences." (10.39) CMoS seems to be using omission to refer to the missing text, admittedly more for 10.38 than for 10.39.
    – rajah9
    Aug 29, 2014 at 13:37
  • It still sounds like omission is used to refer to the act of omitting. But I could be wrong.
    – LarsH
    Aug 29, 2014 at 15:00

The term is: Ellipsis.

There is a unicode character for it too

  • 1
    The OP specifically said he wasn't asking for that term. Aug 28, 2014 at 14:27
  • 2
    @FumbleFingers - just because the OP edited his question after I answered it, does not mean that the OP did not ask for that term, just that he changed his mind ....
    – rolfl
    Aug 28, 2014 at 14:43
  • The point is that the omitted text is the actual ellipsis. The dots are called ellipses because they stand in for it. Much like BrE calls the '.' character a 'full stop', because that is what it represents. I would be silly to ask what it is called when you pause at a full stop. This is the right answer. Aug 28, 2014 at 17:26
  • @JonJayObermark Well it would be, except there's no character font for the elipted material!!! Aug 28, 2014 at 17:56
  • Yeah. Not wonderful attention to antecedents, for a language site... Aug 28, 2014 at 19:18

So you're talking about the "film on the editing room floor" is that right?

Note that very often with single-word-requests, the correct answer is simply "there's no such word."

In this case, the correct answer is simply "there's no such word."

Note too that the situation can vary greatly:

the ellipses in DH Lawrence's, err, 2nd? version of Lady Chatterly's Hot Lover, simply meant he never wrote them. Other times like when I quote from references the ellipsis means "the quotor left it out to save space" - and so on.

There wouldn't really be one term for these vastly different, err, concepts ("never-written text" "swear words" "boring stuff" etc.)

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