- 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
- 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
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
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper