- 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 undefinable
I then had a strange, undefinable sensation of universal chaos.My Double Life
It all comes, I believe, from trying to define the undefinable.The Life and Letters of Charles Darwin, Volume I (of II)
But how tell an undefinable uneasiness, variable as the clouds, unstable as the winds?Madame Bovary
It hung about him with the undefinable feel and smell of death.
The presence of the figure inspired me with an undefinable awe!Rookwood
William Harrison Ainsworth
- 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 undefinable
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper