verb (used with object), de·fined, de·fin·ing.
- 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.
verb (used without object), de·fined, de·fin·ing.
- to set forth the meaning of a word, phrase, etc.; construct a definition.
- 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
v.late 14c., “to specify; to end,” from Old French defenir “to end, terminate, determine,” and directly from Latin definire “to limit, determine, explain,” from de- “completely” (see de-) + finire “to bound, limit,” from finis “boundary, end” (see finish (n.)). Related: Defined; defining.