from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A wing of a building at right angles to the main structure.
  • n. A right-angled bend in a pipe or conduit; an elbow.
  • n. Any of several historical units of measure corresponding roughly to the length of the arm, especially the English measure equal to 45 inches (114 centimeters).
  • n. Variant of el1.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A measure for cloth. An English ell equals 1.25 yards, whereas a Scottish ell measures only 1.0335 yards ( A Flemish ell measured three quarters, (27 inches).
  • n. An extension usually at right angles to one end of a building.
  • n. Something that is L-shaped.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A measure for cloth; -- now rarely used. It is of different lengths in different countries; the English ell being 45 inches, the Dutch or Flemish ell 27, the Scotch about 37.
  • n. See l.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A long measure, chiefly used for cloth.
  • n. The name of the letter L, l. It is rarely so written, the symbol being used instead.
  • n. An addition to or wing of a house which gives it the shape of the capital letter L.
  • n. A pipe-connection changing the direction at right angles.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. an extension at the end and at right angles to the main building


From its resemblance to the shape of the capital letter L, or short for elbow.
Middle English, from Old English eln, the length from the elbow to the middle finger's tip, ell; see el- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Old English eln “unit of measure of 45 inches,” originally “length of the forearm,” from Proto-Indo-European *el- “elbow, forearm”. (Wiktionary)



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  • eln - Old English measure- length from middle fingertip to elbow.

    November 18, 2014