This came up in another question recently. I'll elaborate on my answer from there: Ellipsis is an object that can appear in slice notation. For example: myList[1:2, ..., 0] Its interpretation is purely up to whatever implements the __getitem__ function and sees Ellipsis objects there, but its main (and intended) use is in the numeric python extension, which adds a multidimensional array type. Since there are more than one dimensions, slicing becomes more complex than just a start and stop index; it is useful to be able to slice in multiple dimensions as well. E.g., given a 4x4 array, the top left area would be defined by the slice [:2,:2]: >>> a array([[ 1, 2, 3, 4], [ 5, 6, 7, 8], [ 9, 10, 11, 12], [13, 14, 15, 16]]) >>> a[:2,:2] # top left array([[1, 2], [5, 6]]) Extending this further, Ellipsis is used here to indicate a placeholder for the rest of the array dimensions not specified. Think of it as indicating the full slice [:] for all the dimensions in the gap it is placed, so for a 3d array, a[...,0] is the same as a[:,:,0] and for 4d, a[:,:,:,0], similarly, a[0,...,0] is a[0,:,:,0] (with however many colons in the middle make up the full number of dimensions in the array). Interestingly, in python3, the Ellipsis literal (...) is usable outside the slice syntax, so you can actually write: >>> ... Ellipsis Other than the various numeric types, no, I don't think it's used. As far as I'm aware, it was added purely for numpy use and has no core support other than providing the object and corresponding syntax. The object being there didn't require this, but the literal "..." support for slices did.