A semicolon is a punctuation mark that shows you there's a pause in a sentence; semicolons separate two complete clauses.

Unlike a comma, which also indicates a pause in a sentence, a semicolon is used between related independent clauses. This means wherever there's a semicolon, it can be replaced with a period; however, this results in more abrupt, shorter sentences. You can also usually replace a semicolon with a comma followed by a conjunction like and, for, or but. The first printed semicolon appeared in 1494.

Definitions of semicolon
  1. noun
    a punctuation mark (`;') used to connect independent clauses; indicates a closer relation than does a period
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    type of:
    punctuation, punctuation mark
    the marks used to clarify meaning by indicating separation of words into sentences and clauses and phrases
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