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[rej-uh-ster] /ˈrɛdʒ ə stər/
a book in which records of acts, events, names, etc., are kept.
a list or record of such acts, events, etc.
an entry in such a book, record, or list.
an official document issued to a merchant ship as evidence of its nationality.
registration or registry.
a mechanical device by which certain data are automatically recorded.
  1. the compass or range of a voice or an instrument.
  2. a part of this range produced in the same way and having the same quality:
    the head register; the upper register of the clarinet.
  3. (in an organ) a stop.
a device for controlling the flow of warmed air or the like through an opening, as from a duct to an interior, composed of a number of narrow, parallel blades, usually behind a grating, that may be adjusted so as to overlap and close the opening.
Photography. proper relationship between two plane surfaces in photography, as corresponding plates in photoengraving.
  1. a precise adjustment or correspondence, as of lines, columns, etc., especially on the two sides of a leaf.
  2. correct relation or exact superimposition, as of colors in color printing.
a bookmark, especially a ribbon attached to the spine of a book.
Linguistics. a variety of language typically used in a specific type of communicative setting:
an informal register; the register of scientific discourse.
Computers. a high-speed storage location in the CPU, used to store a related string of bits, as a word or phrase.
verb (used with object)
to enter or cause to be entered formally in a register.
to cause (mail) to be recorded upon delivery to a post office for safeguarding against loss, theft, damage, etc., during transmission.
to enroll (a student, voter, etc.) in a school or course of study, on the voting rolls, etc.
to indicate by a record, as instruments do:
The thermometer registered 102 degrees today.
to indicate or show, as on a scale.
Printing. to adjust so as to secure exact correspondence; cause to be in register.
Military. to adjust (fire) on a known point.
to show (surprise, joy, anger, etc.), as by facial expression or by actions.
to document (a merchant ship engaged in foreign trade) by issuing a certificate of registry.
verb (used without object)
to enter one's name or cause it to be entered in a register; enroll:
to register at a motel.
to apply for and obtain inclusion of one's name on the list of voters.
to enroll in a school or course of study:
I've registered for three English classes.
Printing. to be in register.
to show:
A broad smile registered on his face.
to have some effect; make some impression:
My plea didn't register on him at all.
Origin of register
1350-1400; Middle English registre < Middle French, Old French < Medieval Latin registrum, regestrum, alteration of Late Latin regesta catalog, list, noun use of neuter plural of Latin regestus, past participle of regerere to carry back, pile up, collect, equivalent to re- re- + ges-, stem of gerere to bear + -tus past participle suffix; (v.) Middle English registren (< Middle French registrer) < Medieval Latin registrāre, derivative of registrum
Related forms
registerer, noun
[rej-uh-struh-bil-i-tee] /ˌrɛdʒ ə strəˈbɪl ɪ ti/ (Show IPA),
registrable, registerable, adjective
misregister, verb
nonregistrable, adjective
preregister, verb (used with or without object)
reregister, verb
unregistrable, adjective
Can be confused
register, registrar.
1. record, ledger, archive. 2. roll, roster, catalogue, chronicle, schedule, annals. 15. enroll, list, record, catalogue, chronicle. 22. demonstrate, evince. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for register
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The fat man from behind the register had come to take his order.

    Way of the Lawless Max Brand
  • Gradually a new series of impressions began to register on Martin's brain.

    Dust Mr. and Mrs. Haldeman-Julius
  • Consider, the register itself is destroyed—the clergyman dead.

    Night and Morning, Complete Edward Bulwer-Lytton
  • He owned that the copy of the register had been found by Lilburne in a secret drawer.

    Night and Morning, Complete Edward Bulwer-Lytton
  • A pressure-gauge to register the depth of the sinker has been added by Sir William.

British Dictionary definitions for register


an official or formal list recording names, events, or transactions
the book in which such a list is written
an entry in such a list
a recording device that accumulates data, totals sums of money, etc: a cash register
a movable plate that controls the flow of air into a furnace, chimney, room, etc
(computing) one of a set of word-sized locations in the central processing unit in which items of data are placed temporarily before they are operated on by program instructions
  1. the timbre characteristic of a certain manner of voice production See head voice, chest voice
  2. any of the stops on an organ as classified in respect of its tonal quality: the flute register
  1. the correct alignment of the separate plates in colour printing
  2. the exact correspondence of lines of type, columns, etc, on the two sides of a printed sheet of paper
a form of a language associated with a particular social situation or subject matter, such as obscene slang, legal language, or journalese
the act or an instance of registering
(transitive) to enter or cause someone to enter (an event, person's name, ownership, etc) on a register; formally record
to show or be shown on a scale or other measuring instrument: the current didn't register on the meter
to show or be shown in a person's face, bearing, etc: his face registered surprise
(intransitive) to have an effect; make an impression: the news of her uncle's death just did not register
to send (a letter, package, etc) by registered post
(transitive) (printing) to adjust (a printing press, forme, etc) to ensure that the printed matter is in register
(intransitive) often foll by with. (of a mechanical part) to align (with another part)
(military) to bring (a gun) to bear on its target by adjustment according to the accuracy of observed single rounds
Derived Forms
registerer, noun
registrable, adjective
Word Origin
C14: from Medieval Latin registrum, from Latin regerere to transcribe, from re- + gerere to bear
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
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Word Origin and History for register

late 14c., from Old French registre (13c.) and directly from Medieval Latin registrum, alteration of Late Latin regesta "list, matters recorded," noun use of Latin regesta, neuter plural of regestus, past participle of regerere "to record; retort," literally "to carry back, bring back" from re- "back" (see re-) + gerere "carry, bear" (see gest).

Also borrowed in Dutch, German, Swedish, Danish. Some senses influenced by association with Latin regere "to rule." Meaning in printing, "exact alignment of presswork" is from 1680s. Musical sense is from 1811, "compass or range of a voice or instrument," hence "series of tones of the same quality" (produced by a voice or instrument). Sense "device by which data is automatically recorded" is 1830, from the verb; hence Cash register (1875).


late 14c. (transitive), "enter in a listing," from Old French registrer "note down, include" (13c.) and directly from Medieval Latin registrare, from registrum (see register (n.)). Intransitive sense, of instruments, from 1797; of persons and feelings, "make an impression," from 1901. Meaning "to enter one's name in a list" for some purpose is from 1940. Related: Registered; registering. Registered nurse attested from 1879.


"assistant court officer in administrative or routine function," 1530s, now chiefly U.S., alteration of registrar (q.v) due to influence of register.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for register



To express with the face and body: I jumped up and registered horror (1901+)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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