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

  • n. A gap or interruption in space, time, or continuity; a break: "We are likely to be disconcerted by . . . hiatuses of thought” ( Edmund Wilson).
  • n. Linguistics A slight pause that occurs when two immediately adjacent vowels in consecutive syllables are pronounced, as in reality and naive.
  • n. Anatomy A separation, aperture, fissure, or short passage in an organ or body part.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A gap in a series, making it incomplete.
  • n. An interruption, break or pause.
  • n. A vacation, break from work.
  • n. A gap in geological strata.
  • n. An opening in an organ.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. An opening; an aperture; a gap; a chasm; esp., a defect in a manuscript, where some part is lost or effaced; a space where something is wanting; a break.
  • n. The concurrence of two vowels in two successive words or syllables.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. An opening; an aperture; a gap; a chasm.
  • n. In anatomy, a foramen.
  • n. In grammar and prosody, the coming together of two vowels without intervening consonant in successive words or syllables of one word.
  • n. A space from which something requisite to completeness is absent, as a missing link in a genealogy, an interval of unknown history, a lost or erased part of a manuscript, etc.; a lacuna; a break.
  • n. Specifically, in logic, a fault of demonstration, consisting in the omission to prove some premise made use of, and not self-evident or admitted.

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

  • n. a missing piece (as a gap in a manuscript)
  • n. an interruption in the intensity or amount of something
  • n. a natural opening or perforation through a bone or a membranous structure


Latin hiātus, from past participle of hiāre, to gape.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin hiātus ("opening"), from hiō ("stand open, yawn"). (Wiktionary)



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  • He sees health for himself in being one of the mass—he sees the hiatus in singular eminence. Whitman, Preface 1855

    December 9, 2006