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  1. a formal expression of opinion or intention made, usually after voting, by a formal organization, a legislature, a club, or other group.Compare concurrent resolution, joint resolution.
  2. the act of resolving or determining upon an action, course of action, method, procedure, etc.
  3. a resolve; a decision or determination: to make a firm resolution to do something. Her resolution to clear her parents' name allowed her no other focus in life.
  4. the mental state or quality of being resolved or resolute; firmness of purpose: She showed her resolution by not attending the meeting.
  5. the act or process of resolving or separating something into constituent or elementary parts.
  6. the resulting state.
  7. Optics. the act, process, or capability of distinguishing between two separate but adjacent objects or sources of light or between two nearly equal wavelengths.Compare resolving power.
  8. a solution, accommodation, or settling of a problem, controversy, etc.
  9. Music.
    1. the progression of a voice part or of the harmony as a whole from a dissonance to a consonance.
    2. the tone or chord to which a dissonance is resolved.
  10. reduction to a simpler form; conversion.
  11. Medicine/Medical. the reduction or disappearance of a swelling or inflammation without suppuration.
  12. the degree of sharpness of a computer-generated image as measured by the number of dots per linear inch in a hard-copy printout or the number of pixels across and down on a display screen.

Origin of resolution

1350–1400; Middle English < Latin resolūtiōn- (stem of resolūtiō), equivalent to resolūt(us) resolute + -iōn- -ion
Related formsnon·res·o·lu·tion, nounpre·res·o·lu·tion, noun

Synonyms for resolution

See more synonyms for on Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for resolution


  1. the act or an instance of resolving
  2. the condition or quality of being resolute; firmness or determination
  3. something resolved or determined; decision
  4. a formal expression of opinion by a meeting, esp one agreed by a vote
  5. a judicial decision on some matter; verdict; judgment
  6. the act or process of separating something into its constituent parts or elements
  7. med
    1. return from a pathological to a normal condition
    2. subsidence of the symptoms of a disease, esp the disappearance of inflammation without the formation of pus
  8. music the process in harmony whereby a dissonant note or chord is followed by a consonant one
  9. the ability of a television or film image to reproduce fine detail
  10. physics another word for resolving power
Derived Formsresolutioner or resolutionist, noun
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 resolution

late 14c., "a breaking into parts," from Old French resolution (14c.) or directly from Latin resolutionem (nominative resolutio) "process of reducing things into simpler forms," from past participle stem of resolvere "loosen" (see resolve). Sense of "a solving" (as of mathematical problems) first recorded 1540s, as is that of "power of holding firmly" (cf. resolute). Sense of "decision or expression of a meeting" is from c.1600. Meaning "effect of an optical instrument" is from 1860.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

resolution in Medicine


  1. The subsiding or termination of an abnormal condition, such as a fever or an inflammation.
  2. The act or process of separating or reducing something into its constituent parts.
  3. The fineness of detail that can be distinguished in an image, as on a video display terminal.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.