Definitions

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

  • transitive v. To state the precise meaning of (a word or sense of a word, for example).
  • transitive v. To describe the nature or basic qualities of; explain: define the properties of a new drug; a study that defines people according to their median incomes.
  • transitive v. To delineate the outline or form of: gentle hills that were defined against the sky.
  • transitive v. To specify distinctly: define the weapons to be used in limited warfare.
  • transitive v. To give form or meaning to: "For him, a life is defined by action” ( Jay Parini).
  • intransitive v. To make or write a definition.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To determine.
  • v. To express the essential nature of something.
  • v. To state the meaning of a word or word group or a sign or symbol.
  • v. To describe, explain, or make definite and clear.
  • v. To demark sharply the outlines or limits of an area or concept.
  • n. A kind of macro in source code that replaces one text string with another wherever it occurs.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. To fix the bounds of; to bring to a termination; to end.
  • transitive v. To determine or clearly exhibit the boundaries of; to mark the limits of.
  • transitive v. To determine with precision; to mark out with distinctness; to ascertain or exhibit clearly.
  • transitive v. To determine the precise signification of; to fix the meaning of; to describe accurately; to explain; to expound or interpret.
  • intransitive v. To determine; to decide.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To determine, declare, or mark the limit of; circumscribe; determine or indicate the bounds or outlines of with precision; mark or set out clearly: as, to define the extent of a kingdom or country.
  • To fix, establish, or prescribe authoritatively: as, to define the duties of an officer.
  • To state the signification of; explain what is expressed by (a word, a phrase, etc.); state the nature or essential properties of: as, to define virtue; define your meaning more clearly.
  • To determine; settle; decide.
  • To determine; decide; give judgment.
  • To state a definition.

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

  • v. decide upon or fix definitely
  • v. show the form or outline of
  • v. determine the essential quality of
  • v. determine the nature of
  • v. give a definition for the meaning of a word

Etymologies

Middle English definen, diffinen, from Old French definir, diffiner, from Latin dēfīnīre, to limit, determine : dē-, intensive pref.; see de- + fīnis, boundary, limit.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English definen, from Old French definer, variant of definir, from Latin dēfīniō ("limit, settle, define"), from + fīniō ("set a limit, bound, end") (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • We can therefore define the constant BRATE as: #define BRATE

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  • I asked Democrats about that, and they said well, the way that we interpret the term define, is that there's going to be an awful lot of negative advertising.

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  • The next term that we must accurately define is "North American"; all too often we think of North Americans as those from the United States and Canada.

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  • But the thing that really bugs me about Cheney's quote (again, he said, regarding torture, that: "The fact of the matter is the Justice Department reviewed all those allegations several years ago.") is that in using the Justice Department as justification, he brings to mind the old story used to define the Yiddish word chutzpah: Someone who kills his parents and then throws himself on the mercy of the court as an orphan.

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  • The hardest of these elements to define is the last one: what I like.

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  • The marriage that homosexuals want to define is a counterfeit version.

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  • One cannot, in short, define any absolute relationship between the normative sciences and the other branches of philosophy.

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  • 'Look here,' she said, 'don't think I want to be preachy or a beast in any way, but I want to what Father calls define the situation.

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  • I guess we are all born as unique individuals and I have many neurological differences and will never be the average norm or will any label define me, labels change, while I stay the same!

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  • Category Tree: phenomenon ╚natural phenomenon ╚geological phenomenon ╚deposit, sedimentation, alluviation Generally soil and deposit are the same terms define any organic, inorganic or mixture of organic and inorganic compounds on a given surface.

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