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The Collaborative International Dictionary

L \L\ ([e^]l), n.

  1. An extension at right angles to the length of a main building, giving to the ground plan a form resembling the letter L; sometimes less properly applied to a narrower, or lower, extension in the direction of the length of the main building; a wing. [Written also ell.]

  2. (Mech.) A short right-angled pipe fitting, used in connecting two pipes at right angles. [Written also ell.]

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

unit of measure, Old English eln, originally "forearm, length of the arm" (as a measure, anywhere from a foot and a half to two feet), from PIE *el- (1) "elbow, forearm" (cognates: Greek olene "elbow," Latin ulna, Armenian uln "shoulder," Sanskrit anih "part of the leg above the knee," Lithuanian alkune "elbow").\n

\nThe exact distance varied, in part depending on whose arm was used as the base and whether it was measured from the shoulder to the fingertip or the wrist: the Scottish ell was 37.2 inches, the Flemish 27 inches. Latin ulna also was a unit of linear measure, and compare cubit. The modern English unit of 45 inches seems to have been set in Tudor times. Whereas shee tooke an inche of liberty before, tooke an ell afterwardes [Humfrey Gifford, "A Posie of Gilloflowers," 1580].


name of the letter -L- in Latin; in reference to a type of building, 1773, American English; so called for resemblance to the shape of the alphabet letter.


Etymology 1 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). Etymology 2

n. 1 An extension usually at right angles to one end of a building. 2 Something that is L-shaped.


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


An ell (from Proto-Germanic *alinō, cognate with Latin ulna) is a unit of measurement, originally a cubit, i.e., approximating the length of a man's arm from the elbow ("elbow" means the bend or bow of the ell or arm) to the tip of the middle finger, or about 18 inches (457 mm); in later usage, any of several longer units. In English-speaking countries, these included (until the 19th century) the Flemish ell ( of a yard), English ell ( yards) and French ell ( yards), some of which are thought to derive from a "double ell".

Several national forms existed, with different lengths, including the Scottish ell , the Flemish ell [el] , the French ell [aune] the Polish ell , the Danish ell , the Swedish aln and the German ell [Elle] (Hamburg, Frankfurt, Cologne, Leipzig: 57.9 cm)

Select customs were observed by English importers of Dutch textiles: although all cloths were bought by the Flemish ell, linen was sold by the English ell, but tapestry was sold by the Flemish ell.

In England, the ell was usually , or a yard and a quarter. It was mainly used in the tailoring business but is now obsolete. Although the exact length was never defined in English law, standards were kept; the brass ell examined at the Exchequer by Graham in the 1740s had been in use "since the time of Queen Elizabeth".

The Viking ell was the measure from the elbow to the tip of the middle finger, about 18 inches. The Viking ell or primitive ell was used in Iceland up to the 13th century. By the 13th century, a law set the "stika" as equal to 2 ells which was the English ell of the time. An ell-wand or ellwand was a rod of length one ell used for official measurement. Edward I of England required that every town have one. In Scotland, the Belt of Orion was called "the King's Ellwand".

Ell (disambiguation)

Ell or ELL may refer to:

  • Ell, a measure of length
  • Ell, Luxembourg, a commune and town in Luxembourg
  • Ell, Netherlands, a town in the Netherlands
  • Ell (architecture), a wing of a building
  • Ell (Scots), a Scottish measure of length
  • ELL (gene) (elongation factor RNA polymerase II), a human gene
  • Ell (surname), a family name
  • Eldar Gasimov, Azerbaijani singer
  • European Lunar Lander
  • East London Line, a railway line that used to be part of the London Underground, that amalgamated with the London Overground in 2010.
  • Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics, a compendium of human communication
  • English language learner, a person acquiring the English language
  • A name for the letter L
  • \ell, a LaTeX symbol (ℓ)
Ell (architecture)

In architecture, an ell is a wing of a building that lies perpendicular to the length of the main portion.

In connected farm architecture, the ell is often extended to attach the main house to another building, usually a barn. It takes its name from the shape of the letter L.

ELL (gene)

RNA polymerase II elongation factor ELL is an enzyme that in humans is encoded by the ELL gene.

Usage examples of "ell".

It would have been an absurd misfortune that eighty men stationed in that bailiwick should, for the sake of a few louis and a few ells of English cloth, have occasioned the confiscation of Hamburg, French, and Dutch property to the amount of 80,000,000 francs.

Walker Boh and Morgan Leah and Pe Ell, suspicious cats with sharp eyes and hungry looks, their minds made up as to what they would do in the days that lay ahead and at the same time still quizzing themselves to make certain.

Pe Ell and Walker Boh glaring at each other from opposite corners of the hut - harsh, dark wraiths come from exacting worlds, their silent looks full of warning.

The line spread out along the broken seam, Dees in the lead, Carisman, Quickening, Morgan, and Walker Boh following, and Pe Ell last.

Two additional lights began to flash, and hope sprang into his heart as he realized that one of them lay behind him, near to the fountain, and another was not twenty ells beyond the bosquet, across the cordoned-off boulevard that skirted the pleasance.

Beneath lay ells of costly silks, samites, cendals, and damasks, as well as pelts of ermine and sable.

Walker, Morgan, and Pe Ell gathered together the foodstuffs, bedding, canvases, ropes, climbing tools, cooking implements, clothing, and survival gear that Dees had sent them to find.

Horner Dees to contend with as wEll, and there was something about this old man that bothered Pe Ell.

He had caught the hesitation in the look Horner Dees gave Pe Ell - just a hint of recognition.

My speech, like my eyes, was cockeyed, cross-eyed, my tongue twisted I ollen profoundly by deaf sound.

In hevye sorrowe doo send you these advisoes which I requyre your Mageste in umblest manner to pondur wel, seeinge ells your manyfest Overthrowe and Rwyn att hand.

I wck ofIexpensr nearline ded a largehing school ancur feey childr the ddrano shithe lettemant le dmahogtchebors so the West unthick yomy broten ye cond mainlithat w largemet, pund mainlinsed over d the apI Passover rhe bonds ans, igone to he street to Jul a n He sas ovehey ree locar re shyemainther an grass un, Wh re nds anaid c summeged ber haeled, nd yhen t hat ed for the nite,reesas oved meand I pne to h We ells Onchocola t.

There would be a fine paid in ells of wadmal cloth or bags of silver, or they might forbid him to return to the home shore of Freyrsfjord, or to his birthplace in Halogaland.

The father brought in a milliner, who adorned the mask with an ell of lace for which I paid twelve sequins.

Duke Edward and Duke Harry would have burned every monkish rookery in the land if it would have furthered one ell their march to the throne.