Etymology: Middle English, from Old English feld; akin to Old High German feld field, Old English flōr floor — more at floor
Date: before 12th century
(1) an open land area free of woods and buildings
(2) an area of land marked by the presence of particular objects or features <dune fields> b. (1) an area of cleared enclosed land used for cultivation or pasture <a field of wheat> (2) land containing a natural resource (3) airfield c. the place where a battle is fought; also battle d. a large unbroken expanse (as of ice) 2. a. an area or division of an activity, subject, or profession b. the sphere of practical operation outside a base (as a laboratory, office, or factory) <geologists working in the field> c. an area for military exercises or maneuvers d. (1) an area constructed, equipped, or marked for sports (2) the portion of an indoor or outdoor sports area enclosed by the running track and on which field events are conducted (3) any of the three sections of a baseball outfield <hits to all fields> 3. a space on which something is drawn or projected: as a. the space on the surface of a coin, medal, or seal that does not contain the design b. the ground of each division in a flag c. the whole surface of an escutcheon 4. the individuals that make up all or part of the participants in a contest; especially all participants with the exception of the favorite or the winner in a contest where more than two are entered 5. the area visible through the lens of an optical instrument 6. a. a region or space in which a given effect (as magnetism) exists b. a region of embryonic tissue capable of a particular type of differentiation <a morphogenetic field> 7. a set of mathematical elements that is subject to two binary operations the second of which is distributive relative to the first and that constitutes a commutative group under the first operation and also under the second if the zero or unit element under the first is omitted 8. a complex of forces that serve as causative agents in human behavior 9. a series of drain tiles and an absorption area for septic-tank outflow 10. a particular area (as of a record in a database) in which the same type of information is regularly recorded II. adjective Date: 12th century of or relating to a field: as a. growing in or inhabiting the fields or open country b. made, conducted, or used in the field c. operating or active in the field III. verb Date: 1823 transitive verb 1. a. to catch or pick up (as a batted ball) and usually throw to a teammate b. to take care of or respond to (as a telephone call or a request) c. to give an impromptu answer or solution to <the senator fielded the reporters' questions> 2. to put into the field <field an army> <field a team>; also to enter in competition intransitive verb to play as a fielder
New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.