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

  • adj. Constructed as part of a larger unit; not detachable: a built-in cabinet.
  • adj. Forming a permanent or essential element or quality: a built-in escape clause.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. constructed as a non-detachable part of a larger structure
  • adj. being an essential and permanent part of something
  • adj. of an included feature that normally comes as an extra

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

  • adj. existing as an essential constituent or characteristic


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • These so-called built-in stabilizers increase the deficit but limit declines of after-tax income and purchasing power, economists Kenneth Arrow, Peter Diamond, William Sharpe, Eric Maskin and Robert Solow wrote. Front Page

  • The second mystery concerns how you have a built-in mechanism that enables you to be moved by something outside your control.

    The Bushman Way of Tracking God

  • It has held without the built-in assurances provided by a parliamentary system.

    The Good Fight

  • So this writing system has a built-in appeal for writers and readers spread over vast areas—say, the entire planet—across which such variations range widely, even wildly.

    The English Is Coming!

  • In Old English, word endings conveyed which creature is doing the biting and which is being bitten, so there was built-in flexibility for word order.

    The English Is Coming!

  • They also feature a bottle opener and built-in carabiner clip.

    Benchmade Hook

  • Even in the U.S. the phone companies offer built-in voice mail for a fee.

    Telmex (detached thread)

  • Coolest of all, the Atrix transforms into a laptop with the optional LapDoc docking station $300 when purchased with the phone, which boasts a large, 11.6-inch display and full-size keyboard with a built-in battery that Motorola claims delivers up to 6 hours of use without taxing the phone's power supply.

    First Look: Motorola Atrix is an OK smart phone, lacks as a quasi-laptop

  • There are built-in structures within government that make things, in some cases, more difficult to innovate than in the private sector.

    Federal Coach: Innovation in the public sector

  • Imagine if you spent $4,400 to $5,000 for a built-in stainless steel refrigerator and the door fell off.

    Recall: Built-in refrigerators that can become unhinged


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