determined, fixed, or clearly marked out as to extent, outline, or form: an itchy red rash with sharply defined edges.

Origin of defined

First recorded in 1720–30; define + -ed2



verb (used with object), de·fined, de·fin·ing.

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), de·fined, de·fin·ing.

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 formsde·fin·a·ble, adjectivede·fin·a·bil·i·ty, nounde·fin·a·bly, adverbde·fine·ment, nounde·fin·er, nounmis·de·fine, verb (used with object), mis·de·fined, mis·de·fin·ing.non·de·fin·a·bil·i·ty, nounnon·de·fin·a·ble, adjectivenon·de·fin·a·bly, adverbnon·de·fined, adjectivenon·de·fin·er, nounpre·de·fine, verb (used with object), pre·de·fined, pre·de·fin··de·fine, verb (used with object), re·de·fined, re·de·fin·ing.self-de·fined, adjectivesem·i·de·fined, adjectiveun·de·fin·a·ble, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for defined

Contemporary Examples of defined

  • In February, Slovakia will have a referendum on whether marriage should be defined as a union between a man and a woman.

  • And no issue should be defined by its outliers because it paints a false picture.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Bill de Blasio’s Tea Party Problem

    Will Cain

    December 30, 2014

  • Local life in these places is not defined by their sports team or by their natural beauty—by things only available locally.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Will Texas Stay Texan?

    David Fontana

    December 29, 2014

  • Instead, local life is defined by cultural products that are more national or more global—think of the Sunday New York Times.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Will Texas Stay Texan?

    David Fontana

    December 29, 2014

  • The problem is that no one has yet defined eating disorder recovery.

Historical Examples of defined

  • You have defined her character, my dear sir, as correctly as if you had known her from her birth.

  • Such a formula expresses the commandment of sexual ethics as we have defined it.

  • He could not for his life have defined the difference, but there it was.

    A Singer from the Sea

    Amelia Edith Huddleston Barr

  • May it not be defined as a period of about twenty years in a woman's life, and thirty in a man's?

  • The elements may be perceived by sense, but they are names, and cannot be defined.

British Dictionary definitions for defined


verb (tr)

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
Derived Formsdefinable, adjectivedefinability, noundefinably, adverbdefiner, noun

Word Origin for define

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 defined



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