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v. de·fined, de·fin·ing, de·fines
a. To state the precise meaning of (a word or sense of a word, for example).
b. To describe the nature or basic qualities of; explain: define the properties of a new drug; a study that defines people according to their median incomes.
a. To make clear the outline or form of; delineate: gentle hills that were defined against the sky.
b. To specify distinctly: define the weapons to be used in limited warfare.
3. To give form or meaning to: "For him, a life is defined by action" (Jay Parini).
To make or write a definition.

[Middle English definen, diffinen, from Old French definir, diffiner, from Latin dēfīnīre, to limit, determine : dē-, intensive pref.; see de- + fīnis, boundary, limit.]

de·fin′a·bil′i·ty n.
de·fin′a·ble adj.
de·fin′a·bly adv.
de·fine′ment n.
de·fin′er n.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


1. the act of defining
2. another word for definition
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014
References in periodicals archive ?
Sir, his definement suffers no perdition in you, though I know to divide him inventorially would dozy th'arithmetic of memory, and yet but yaw neither in respect of his quick sail....
Names keep springing to mind like 'Classified', 'Committed' and 'Definement', but I can't be sure and it's driving me crazy!
The pope's own end, his "definement"--the choice of words is telling, redolent as it is of "pining, consuming, wasting" away (Cotgrave); the spectacle of his suffering is as important as his ultimate demise--is not tragic but comic, the happy ending comedy promises by classical definition.