center

noun
cen·​ter | \ ˈsen-tər How to pronounce center (audio) , ˈse-nər\

Definition of center

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : the point around which a circle or sphere is described broadly : a point that is related to a geometrical figure in such a way that for any point on the figure there is another point on the figure such that a straight line joining the two points is bisected by the original point

called also center of symmetry

b : the center of the circle inscribed in a regular (see regular entry 1 sense 3b) polygon
2a : a point, area, person, or thing that is most important or pivotal in relation to an indicated activity, interest, or condition a railroad center the center of the controversy
b : a source from which something originates a propaganda center
c : a group of neurons having a common function respiratory center
d : a region of concentrated population an urban center
e : a facility providing a place for a particular activity or service a day-care center a shopping center a medical center
3a : the middle part (as of the forehead or a stage)

b often capitalized

(1) : a grouping of political figures holding moderate views especially between those of conservatives and liberals
(2) : the views of such politicians The party's new policies show a shift toward the center.
(3) : the adherents of such views
4a : a player occupying a middle position on a team: such as
(1) : the football player in the middle of a line who passes the ball between his legs to a back to start a down
(2) : the usually tallest player on a basketball team who usually plays near the basket
5a : either of two tapered rods which support work in a lathe or grinding machine and about or with which the work revolves
b : a conical recess in the end of work (such as a shaft) for receiving such a center

center

verb
centered; centering\ ˈsen-​t(ə-​)riŋ How to pronounce centering (audio) , ˈse-​nər-​iŋ \

Definition of center (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to place or fix at or around a center or central area center the picture on the wall
2 : to give a central focus or basis centers her hopes on her son the plot was centered on espionage
3 : to adjust (things, such as lenses) so that the axes coincide
4a : to pass (a ball or puck) from either side toward the middle of the playing area
b : to hand or pass (a football) backward between one's legs to a back (see back entry 1 sense 3) to start a down
5 : to play center (see center entry 1 sense 4) on center a line in hockey

intransitive verb

: to have a specified center : focus

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Other Words from center

Noun

centerless \ ˈsen-​tər-​ləs How to pronounce centerless (audio) , ˈse-​nər-​ \ adjective

What prepositions are used with center?: Usage Guide

Verb

The intransitive verb center is most commonly used with the prepositions in, on, at, and around. At appears to be favored in mathematical contexts; the others are found in a broad range of contexts. Center around, a standard idiom, has often been objected to as illogical. The logic on which the objections are based is irrelevant, since center around is an idiom and idioms have their own logic. Center on is currently more common in edited prose, and revolve around and similar verbs are available if you want to avoid center around.

Examples of center in a Sentence

Noun

the center of the room The staircase is in the center of the building. They are at the center of a furious debate over whether or not to expand the city's public transportation system. The vaccine is being tested at several medical centers around the country.

Verb

Center the picture on the wall. centered administrative duties under the command of a single person
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Sara Sampaio had them dotted on the inner corners of her eyes, as well as down her center part, while Yara Shahidi had a line of gold studs arranged along her right brow bone and snaking around her eye for a subversive touch. Lauren Valenti, Vogue, "The 7 Biggest Camp Beauty Trends at the Met Gala, From Neon Gazes to Ceiling-Bound Hair," 7 May 2019 Transfer baking sheet to oven and bake for 18 minutes, rotating halfway through cooking time, until centers are no longer jiggly and tops are slightly browned. Krystyna Chávez, Marie Claire, "9 Easy Kentucky Derby Recipe Ideas You Can Whip Up In No Time," 3 May 2019 Eugenie is now patron of Horatio's Garden, an organization that creates gardens for spinal centers associated with the U.K.'s National Health Service. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "Princess Eugenie Reveals a New Patronage on Instagram, and It's Tied to Her Experience with Scoliosis," 2 May 2019 Transfer skillet to oven and bake until center is just set, 18 to 20 minutes. The Good Housekeeping Test Kitchen, Good Housekeeping, "Spring Herb Frittata," 2 May 2019 This can be done by applying garden lime, also available at any garden center. Michele Petry, House Beautiful, "You Can Change the Color of Your Hydrangeas with This Simple Trick," 18 Apr. 2019 Further Reading Inside New York City’s newest recycling centerThe first material to go is glass. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Bikes, bowling balls, and the delicate balancing act that is modern recycling," 31 Dec. 2018 Chen Qiufan’s novel The Waste Tide is on its way, following a girl named Mimi who lives on Silicon Isle, home of the world’s largest electronic waste recycling center. Andrew Liptak, The Verge, "All the science fiction and fantasy books we’re looking forward to in 2019," 30 Dec. 2018 Ikea, which has relied on customers trekking to its box stores, is playing catch up on e-commerce and experimenting with smaller stores in urban centers. Diana Budds, Curbed, "The rise of the direct-to-consumer home," 21 Dec. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The 'Weirwood' symbol it was centered on indicates the 'Grand Weirwood,' located on Gods Eye, is the main source of that power. Christopher Rosa, Glamour, "This Theory Suggests Game of Thrones Already Revealed How to Kill the Night King," 18 Apr. 2019 That's because the Planning Studio is a new kind of IKEA, centered around developing solutions for city living through design. Hadley Keller, House Beautiful, "IKEA's First Manhattan Location Is Nothing Like Its Other Stores," 10 Apr. 2019 In celebration of the product's 20th anniversary, Nars has returned with an entire collection centered around their Orgasm blush. Lauren Rearick, Teen Vogue, "Nars Created a Makeup Line Inspired by Their Orgasm Blush," 9 Apr. 2019 After producing cinematic feats from Life Is But a Dream to Lemonade, Beyoncé is putting out another visual project, this time centered around her groundbreaking Coachella performances in 2018. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Beyoncé's Homecoming Netflix Documentary: Everything You Need to Know," 8 Apr. 2019 At an event centered around the Queen's Commonwealth Canopy, a charity dedicated to protecting forests launched in 2015, the Queen and Attenborough were seen enjoying each other's company. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "Looking Back at David Attenborough's Relationship with Queen Elizabeth and the Rest of the Royal Family," 4 Apr. 2019 Late Monday, Willa was centered about 85 miles (140 kilometers) southwest of the Islas Marias and 195 miles (310 kilometers) south-southwest of Mazatlan. Maria Verza, The Seattle Times, "Dangerous Cat 4 Hurricane Willa closes in on Mexico coast," 22 Oct. 2018 Demand for young talent—particularly from labels centered on teen culture—remains high. Janelle Okwodu, Vogue, "In Europe, the Model Age Debate Rages On," 12 Apr. 2019 Looking ahead, Republican strategists say the president needs to embrace a message centered on the economy. Julie Bykowicz, WSJ, "Trump Heads to Border for First Rally of Year," 11 Feb. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'center.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of center

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

1555, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for center

Noun

Middle English centre, borrowed from Anglo-French, borrowed from Latin centrum "point of the stationary leg of a pair of compasses, midpoint of a circle or sphere," borrowed from Greek kéntron "sting, goad, point, stationary point of a pair of compasses, midpoint of a circle or sphere," probably reshaping (after the base verb kenteîn) of késtron "toothed implement, name for several nettle-like plants," from kentéō, kenteîn "to sting, goad, prick" (going back to Indo-European *ḱent-, *ḱnt- "sting, prick," whence Old High German hantag "pointed," Latvian sīts "hunting spear") + -tron, suffix of instruments

Verb

derivative of center entry 1

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Statistics for center

Last Updated

12 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for center

The first known use of center was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for center

center

noun

English Language Learners Definition of center

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: the middle point or part of something
: a person or thing that is causing a lot of interest, argument, etc.
: the position of a person or thing that is causing a lot of interest, argument, etc.

center

verb

English Language Learners Definition of center (Entry 2 of 2)

: to place (something) in the middle of something
: to be mainly concerned about or involved with someone or something
: to cause (something) to be mainly concerned about or involved with something

center

noun
cen·​ter | \ ˈsen-tər How to pronounce center (audio) \

Kids Definition of center

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the middle part of something the center of a room
2 : a person or thing characterized by a particular concentration or activity She likes to be the center of attention.
3 : a place used for a particular purpose day care center
4 : the middle point of a circle or a sphere equally distant from every point on the circumference or surface
5 : a player occupying a middle position on a basketball, football, hockey, lacrosse, or soccer team

center

verb
centered; centering

Kids Definition of center (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to place or fix at or around a center or central area Can you center the picture on the wall?
2 : to collect or concentrate at or around one point, group, or person His life centers around his family.

center

noun
cen·​ter
variants: or chiefly British centre \ ˈsent-​ər How to pronounce centre (audio) \

Medical Definition of center

: a group of nerve cells having a common function the brain stem's respiratory center

called also nerve center

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More from Merriam-Webster on center

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with center

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for center

Spanish Central: Translation of center

Nglish: Translation of center for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of center for Arabic Speakers

Comments on center

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