- 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 define
It was something ineffable and harder to define: freedom of speech.Politicians Only Love Journalists When They're Dead
January 8, 2015
This was later repurposed in Europe as an explanation for racial superiority, and the term “Aryan” came to define a white race.The Himalayas’ Hidden Aryans
January 3, 2015
To define this show of support by major corporations for LGBT equality as a seachange would be no overstatement.Corporations Are No Longer Silent on LGBT Issues
December 24, 2014
And I would like for this generation to define its own movement.Dr. Howard Fuller's Injustice Education
December 21, 2014
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
Each generation of American's must define what it means to be an American.
We can know God easily so long as we do not feel it necessary to define Him.The Conquest of Fear
For the cross, if you wish to define it, is the confirmation of victory.The Non-Christian Cross
John Denham Parsons
It appeared, then disappeared, without her being able exactly to define it.The Dream
Then, as the journey went on, the vagueness began to define.The Leopard Woman
Stewart Edward White
- 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 define
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper