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90s Slang You Should Know


[dih-fahyn] /dɪˈfaɪn/
verb (used with object), defined, defining.
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.
verb (used without object), defined, defining.
to set forth the meaning of a word, phrase, etc.; construct a definition.
Origin of define
1325-75; Middle English def(f)inen < Anglo-French, Old French definer to put an end to < Latin dēfīnīre to limit, define, equivalent to dē- de- + fīnīre; see finish
Related forms
definable, adjective
definability, noun
definably, adverb
definement, noun
definer, noun
misdefine, verb (used with object), misdefined, misdefining.
nondefinability, noun
nondefinable, adjective
nondefinably, adverb
nondefined, adjective
nondefiner, noun
predefine, verb (used with object), predefined, predefining.
redefine, verb (used with object), redefined, redefining.
self-defined, adjective
semidefined, adjective
undefinable, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for undefinable
Historical Examples
  • The coutour of her face was oval and her large dark eyes were touched with an undefinable sadness.

  • I then had a strange, undefinable sensation of universal chaos.

    My Double Life Sarah Bernhardt
  • But how tell an undefinable uneasiness, variable as the clouds, unstable as the winds?

    Madame Bovary Gustave Flaubert
  • There was in them an undefinable appeal, whether for help or forbearance he could not tell.

    The Reef Edith Wharton
  • Mme Derline was seized with a feeling of undefinable confusion.

    Parisian Points of View Ludovic Halvy
  • Was it her fancy, or had some undefinable change passed over him?

    Not Like Other Girls Rosa N. Carey
  • There is a point in deliberate action where definite thought fades into the ineffable and undefinable—into emotion.

  • The difference of look is undefinable in words, but clear enough.

    Sea Stories Various
  • Luck is that undefinable thing which enables a man to push his head and shoulders well above the crowd.

    Furze the Cruel John Trevena
  • Eagle-wing fixed on the maiden a glance of undefinable meaning.

British Dictionary definitions for undefinable


verb (transitive)
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 of: the shape of the tree was clearly defined by the light behind it
to fix with precision; specify
Derived Forms
definable, adjective
definability, noun
definably, adverb
definer, noun
Word Origin
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
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Word Origin and History for undefinable



late 14c., "to specify; to end," from Old French defenir "to end, terminate, determine," and directly from Latin definire "to limit, determine, explain," from de- "completely" (see de-) + finire "to bound, limit," from finis "boundary, end" (see finish (n.)). Related: Defined; defining.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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