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.
- de·fin·a·ble, adjective
- de·fin·a·bil·i·ty, noun
- de·fin·a·bly, adverb
- de·fine·ment, noun
- de·fin·er, noun
- mis·de·fine, verb (used with object), mis·de·fined, mis·de·fin·ing.
- non·de·fin·a·bil·i·ty, noun
- non·de·fin·a·ble, adjective
- non·de·fin·a·bly, adverb
- non·de·fined, adjective
- non·de·fin·er, noun
- pre·de·fine, verb (used with object), pre·de·fined, pre·de·fin·ing.
- re·de·fine, verb (used with object), re·de·fined, re·de·fin·ing.
- self-de·fined, adjective
- sem·i·de·fined, adjective
- un·de·fin·a·ble, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use define in a sentence
The appointment has yet to be announced, and the scope of the job hasn’t been fully defined yet because it’s a new position.The Pentagon is taking a major step to deal with its diversity problems | Alex Ward | February 12, 2021 | Vox
Long-tail keyphrases are defined as those that are different from general keywords.A comprehensive guide on using Google Trends for keyword research | Aayush Gupta | February 12, 2021 | Search Engine Watch
Most large stone circles in western England and Wales have clearly defined entrances, but it’s not clear that the proposed entryway at Waun Mawn served that purpose.Stonehenge may have had roots in a Welsh stone circle | Bruce Bower | February 12, 2021 | Science News
Ambiguous loss is not only difficult to define, but it’s also difficult to live with.Politics and conspiracy theories are fracturing relationships. Here’s how to grieve those broken bonds. | Jeff Schrum | February 11, 2021 | Washington Post
Scientists haven’t yet identified an “immune correlate of protection,” which is usually defined to be the level of antibodies in the blood at which they can feel confident that a person is going to be protected from infection.Fauci: Vaccines for Kids as Young as First Graders Could Be Authorized by September | by Caroline Chen | February 11, 2021 | ProPublica
It was something ineffable and harder to define: freedom of speech.Politicians Only Love Journalists When They're Dead | Luke O’Neil | January 8, 2015 | THE DAILY BEAST
This was later repurposed in Europe as an explanation for racial superiority, and the term “Aryan” came to define a white race.
To define this show of support by major corporations for LGBT equality as a seachange would be no overstatement.
And I would like for this generation to define its own movement.
Modern conservatives rightly (as it were) define themselves against the culture at large; hipsters seek to do so as well.Glenn Beck Is Now Selling Hipster Clothes. Really. | Ana Marie Cox | December 20, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
In general, any personal property that may be sold; many of the statutes define it.Putnam's Handy Law Book for the Layman | Albert Sidney Bolles
The magnitude, and variety, and demands of the objects embraced by it, define the times necessary for engaging in it.The Ordinance of Covenanting | John Cunningham
I suppose the more experience a man has had of life the more he hesitates to define what love really is.Ancestors | Gertrude Atherton
Cruelty is another cause, almost as general, though more difficult to define.Putnam's Handy Law Book for the Layman | Albert Sidney Bolles
The terms of the covenant must, therefore, define the designed extent of the objects of his death.The Ordinance of Covenanting | John Cunningham
British Dictionary definitions for define
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
- definable, adjective
- definability, noun
- definably, adverb
- definer, noun
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