See more synonyms for define on
verb (used with object), de·fined, de·fin·ing.
  1. to state or set forth the meaning of (a word, phrase, etc.): They disagreed on how to define “liberal.”
  2. to explain or identify the nature or essential qualities of; describe: to define judicial functions.
  3. to fix or lay down clearly and definitely; specify distinctly: to define one's responsibilities.
  4. to determine or fix the boundaries or extent of: to define property with stakes.
  5. 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.
  1. 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. 2018

Examples from the Web for definer

Historical Examples of definer

  • You will first note that the definer has not declared what sort of composition.


    George Grote

  • Either I am very much mistaken, or Locke the definer has very well defined liberty as "power."

  • What are we to think of such a definer of 'scientific terms,' when his errors have not even the negative merit of consistency.

  • And the recent popularity of vers libre and imagisme has made the definer's task harder than ever before.

  • What the definer really intends here is, that the pain arises from the belief of being treated with contempt.


    George Grote

British Dictionary definitions for definer


verb (tr)
  1. to state precisely the meaning of (words, terms, etc)
  2. to describe the nature, properties, or essential qualities of
  3. to determine the boundary or extent of
  4. (often passive) to delineate the form or outline ofthe shape of the tree was clearly defined by the light behind it
  5. 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 definer



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