- decisive; critically important: Taking a course in architecture was a defining turn in her life.
- to state or set forth the meaning of (a word, phrase, etc.): They disagreed on how to define “liberal.”
- to explain or identify the nature or essential qualities of; describe: to define judicial functions.
- to fix or lay down clearly and definitely; specify distinctly: to define one's responsibilities.
- to determine or fix the boundaries or extent of: to define property with stakes.
- to make clear the outline or form of: The roof was boldly defined against the sky.
- to set forth the meaning of a word, phrase, etc.; construct a definition.
Origin of define
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for defining
But if that is the low bar for defining a war, then I hope the draft is reinstated.Why I’m for the War on Christmas
December 23, 2014
She said the defining characteristic of her husband was his sensitivity.The Life and Hard Times Of The Family A Cuban Defector Left Behind
December 19, 2014
Were you defining yourself as a fiction writer then, or did you already envision writing essays like the ones in The Unspeakable?Meghan Daum On Tackling The Unspeakable Parts Of Life
December 6, 2014
But the October 1964 telecast is still regarded as the defining Ronald Reagan speech.Remembering Reagan’s Defining Speech
October 27, 2014
The researchers deliberately refrained from defining “moral” and “immoral” for study participants.It’s Official: Religion Doesn’t Make You More Moral
September 23, 2014
A law was passed April 2, 1884, defining the rights of the married woman.
Thus England was fashioning a new system and defining a new policy.The Fathers of New England
Charles M. Andrews
Orismologia -y: the defining of scientific or technical terms.Explanation of Terms Used in Entomology
John. B. Smith
When the term is used in defining a fabric, it is a delusion and a snare.Textiles
William H. Dooley
He has none of the defining disquisitions that are born of the closet.Museum of Antiquity
L. W. Yaggy
- to state precisely the meaning of (words, terms, etc)
- to describe the nature, properties, or essential qualities of
- to determine the boundary or extent of
- (often passive) to delineate the form or outline ofthe shape of the tree was clearly defined by the light behind it
- to fix with precision; specify
C14: from Old French definer to determine, from Latin dēfīnīre to set bounds to, from fīnīre to finish
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Word Origin and History for defining
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper