verb (used with object), de·ter·mined, de·ter·min·ing.

verb (used without object), de·ter·mined, de·ter·min·ing.

to come to a decision or resolution; decide.
Chiefly Law. to come to an end.

Origin of determine

1325–75; Middle English determinen < Anglo-French, Old French determiner < Latin dētermināre, equivalent to dē- de- + termināre to bound, limit; see terminate
Related formsin·ter·de·ter·mine, verb (used with object), in·ter·de·ter·mined, in·ter·de·ter·min·ing.qua·si-de·ter·mine, verb, qua·si-de·ter·mined, qua·si-de·ter·min··de·ter·mine, verb, re·de·ter·mined, re·de·ter·min·ing.un·de·ter·min·ing, adjective

Synonyms for determine

Synonym study

1. See decide. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for determine

Contemporary Examples of determine

Historical Examples of determine

  • But if you determine as we would have you, and signify it to us, we shall not stand with you for a week or so.

    Clarissa, Volume 1 (of 9)

    Samuel Richardson

  • What real worth might lie under this sunny surface the future must determine.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

  • So far as he could determine, she: had not even sunk once beneath the surface.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

  • It is my duty, father, blindly to follow all you determine upon for me.

  • And always he watched me, for what purpose I could not determine.

British Dictionary definitions for determine



to settle or decide (an argument, question, etc) conclusively, as by referring to an authority
(tr) to ascertain or conclude, esp after observation or consideration
(tr) to shape or influence; give direction toexperience often determines ability
(tr) to fix in scope, extent, variety, etcthe river determined the edge of the property
to make or cause to make a decisionhe determined never to marry
(tr) logic to define or limit (a notion) by adding or requiring certain features or characteristics
(tr) geometry to fix or specify the position, form, or configuration oftwo points determine a line
mainly law to come or bring to an end, as an estate or interest in land
(tr) to decide (a legal action or dispute)

Word Origin for determine

C14: from Old French determiner, from Latin dētermināre to set boundaries to, from de- + termināre to limit; see terminate
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 determine

mid-14c., "to come to an end," also "to settle, decide" (late 14c.), from Old French determiner (12c.) or directly from Latin determinare "to enclose, bound, set limits to," from de- "off" (see de-) + terminare "to mark the end or boundary," from terminus "end, limit" (see terminus). Sense of "coming to a firm decision" (to do something) is from mid-15c. Related: Determined; determining; determiner.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with determine


see bound and determined.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.