The words are supposed to be there but have been left due to any reason. Is there a succinct term to describe such words?

  • 1
    Can you provide an example of what you mean?
    – Alenanno
    May 26, 2011 at 17:07
  • Extremely incomprehensible to me.
    – user8568
    May 26, 2011 at 17:41
  • 2
    This needs more context to answer better. This could be lacuna, redaction, ellipsis, probably others, all with very different connotations.
    – Mitch
    May 26, 2011 at 17:49
  • The word you are looking for is "            ".
    – JeffSahol
    May 26, 2011 at 18:02

4 Answers 4


There's some disagreement going on here that can be attributed to differing interpretations of the question.

If the text was once there but is now missing or illegible, it is a lacuna.

If a word or phrase was left out unintentionally, it is an omission or elision.

If a word or passage has been intentionally removed, it is a redaction.

  • 2
    @Jacob: so you accepted this compilation...but which one was the one you were looking for? Did the word you use fit well? what was the eventual context you want it for?
    – Mitch
    May 26, 2011 at 20:02

It sounds like you're talking about lacunae.

  • 1
    Lacunae is a great word, but it's unlikely to be understood by most people. May 26, 2011 at 17:40
  • I do agree it sounds like OP is looking for a noun, but these are some other ways of describing missing words that come to mind: If you strike out the words, they could be elided (though elide more commonly describes speech) or redacted. If you forgot the words, we might say they were omitted, or (in joking online) say that you accidentally a word.
    – aedia λ
    May 26, 2011 at 17:54
  • 1
    @JSBangs: That is irrelevant to the OP's question. Lacunae is the word that precisely fits here.
    – Robusto
    May 26, 2011 at 18:02
  • @Robusto Some words are missing, but are there gaps? If not, lacunae does not fit.
    – z7sg Ѫ
    May 26, 2011 at 18:09
  • 1
    @Robusto There is no in this sentence.
    – z7sg Ѫ
    May 26, 2011 at 18:30

Words deliberately left out or blanked for security reasons would be redacted


A caret mark (^) used to note an omission but generally where something is to be inserted. An eclipsis denotes "omission or suppression of parts of words or sentences [syn: ellipsis]". Note: 'caret' is Latin for missing

Haplography n. - accidental omission of letters, words or lines in copying

Interesting that this sticks:

Haplography is the act of writing once what should be written twice. For example, the English word "idolatry", the worship of idols, comes from the Greek "eidololatreia", but one syllable has been lost through haplography. Other examples are "endontics" for endodontics, "tillate" for titillate.


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