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

  • n. A word or expression that is being defined.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The term—word or phrase—defined in a definition.


Latin dēfīniendum, neuter gerundive of dēfīnīre, to define; see define.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin dēfīniendum, gerund of dēfīniō. (Wiktionary)


  • Definiens/definiendum is a pretty common distinction when you’re talking about definitions.

    The Volokh Conspiracy » Definiendum

  • A definition is just a definition, but when the definiendum is a word already in common use with highly favorable connotations, it is clear that we are really trying to be persuasive; we are implicitly recommending the achievement of optimal states.

    NYT > Home Page

  • Note the distinction between defined term and definiendum: the defined term in the present example is X; the definiendum is the unspecified expression on the left-hand side of ˜= Df™, which may or may not be identical to X. (Some authors call the defined term


  • M. Whittaker says: surely verbum definiendum, clausa definiens if you un-distill the sense.

    The Volokh Conspiracy » Definiendum

  • (Here ˜=™ is placed between a definiendum and a definiens.)

    Combinatory Logic

  • So, for example, a general term (e.g., ˜man™) may be defined using a sentential definiendum (e.g., ˜x is a man™).


  • Let us say that a homogenous definition is regular iff its definiendum is identical to the defined term.


  • Consider as a definiendum a universal, such as man, and its definiens, rational animal.

    Aristotle's Metaphysics

  • One then locates the definiendum in one of the sub-genera, and proceeds to divide this by another differentia, and so on, until one arrives at the definiendum species.

    Aristotle's Metaphysics

  • The problem is this: definitions are complex (a definiens is always some combination of terms), so what accounts for the definiendum being one thing, rather than many (1037b10)?

    Aristotle's Metaphysics


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