Define De*fine", v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Defined}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Defining}.] [OE. definer, usually, to end, to finish, F. d['e]finir to define, L. definire to limit, define; de- + finire to limit, end, finis boundary, limit, end. See {Final}, {Finish}.] 1. To fix the bounds of; to bring to a termination; to end. ``To define controversies.'' --Barrow. [1913 Webster]

2. To determine or clearly exhibit the boundaries of; to mark the limits of; as, to define the extent of a kingdom or country. [1913 Webster]

3. To determine with precision; to mark out with distinctness; to ascertain or exhibit clearly; as, the defining power of an optical instrument. [1913 Webster]

Rings . . . very distinct and well defined. --Sir I. Newton. [1913 Webster]

4. To determine the precise signification of; to fix the meaning of; to describe accurately; to explain; to expound or interpret; as, to define a word, a phrase, or a scientific term. [1913 Webster]

They define virtue to be life ordered according to nature. --Robynson (More's Utopia). [1913 Webster]

The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.


Look at other dictionaries:

  • define — UK US /dɪˈfaɪn/ verb [T] ► to say what the meaning of something, especially a word, is: »Economists normally define a recession as two successive quarters of negative growth. ► to explain and state the meaning and exact limits of something: »a… …   Financial and business terms

  • define — [dē fīn′, difīn′] vt. defined, defining [ME diffinen < OFr definer & ML diffinire, both < L definire, to limit, define < de , from + finire, to set a limit to, bound: see FINISH] 1. a) to determine or set down the boundaries of b) to… …   English World dictionary

  • define — [v1] give description ascertain, assign, call a spade a spade*, characterize, construe, decide, delineate, denominate, denote, describe, designate, detail, determine, dub, elucidate, entitle, etch, exemplify, explain, expound, formalize,… …   New thesaurus

  • Define — De*fine , v. i. To determine; to decide. [Obs.] [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • define — I verb characterize, characterize precisely, circumscribere, clarify, construe, definire, delineate, denominate, depict the essential qualities of, describe, describe the properties of, designate, determine the essential qualities of, determine… …   Law dictionary

  • define — (v.) late 14c., to specify; to end, from O.Fr. defenir to end, terminate, determine, and directly from L. definire to limit, determine, explain, from de completely (see DE (Cf. de )) + finire to bound, limit, from finis boundary, end (see FINISH… …   Etymology dictionary

  • define — vb *prescribe, assign Analogous words: *limit, circumscribe: fix, *set, establish Contrasted words: *mix, merge, mingle: *mistake, confuse, confound …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • define — ► VERB 1) state or describe the exact nature or scope of. 2) give the meaning of (a word or phrase). 3) mark out the limits or outline of. DERIVATIVES definable adjective definer noun. ORIGIN Latin definire, from finire finish …   English terms dictionary

  • define — /dI faIn/ verb (T) 1 to describe something correctly and thoroughly: the ability to define clients needs | define sth clearly/precisely: The powers of the President are clearly defined in the Constitution. 2 to explain exactly the meaning of a… …   Longman dictionary of contemporary English

  • define — 01. For homework, please [define] the following expressions in your own words. 02. It can be quite difficult to clearly [define] abstract ideas such as love or friendship. 03. Moderate alcohol consumption is [defined] as no more than 2 drinks a… …   Grammatical examples in English

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