clas·​si·​fy | \ˈkla-sə-ˌfī \
classified; classifying

Definition of classify 

transitive verb

1 : to arrange in classes (see class entry 1 sense 3) classifying books according to subject matter

2 : to consider (someone or something) as belonging to a particular group The movie is classified as a comedy. The vehicle is classified as a truck.

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Other Words from classify

classifiable \ ˌkla-​sə-​ˈfī-​ə-​bəl \ adjective

Examples of classify in a Sentence

Students will be learning about the ways scientists classify animals. The online system can classify books by subject.

Recent Examples on the Web

Medical research into the benefits of medical marijuana to treat autism is limited in the United States, because the plant is classified as a Schedule I drug along with other illicit substances such as heroin. Maria Clark,, "Could medical marijuana treat severe autism? Some Louisiana parents believe it can help," 25 Apr. 2018 Any ideas that were classified as social enterprise were also judged on the criteria of social impact and ability to be sustainable. Charlene Paparizos,, "Chagrin Falls High School Students Participate in Collegiate Entrepreneurial Competition: Community Voices," 13 Apr. 2018 The militant Islamist organization Hamas, which is classified as a terrorist organization by the U.S. and European Union, took control in a bloody civil war in 2007 and fought three wars with Israel., "Why Palestinians Demand a ‘Right of Return’ to Israel," 14 May 2018 In fact, bobcats are one of four varieties of medium-sized wild cats classified as a lynx. Howard Ludwig, Daily Southtown, "Bobcat found living with convicted felon in Orland Park finds new home at Minnesota wildcat sanctuary," 30 Mar. 2018 Kenneth Cooper, a San Antonio attorney who is classified as an independent director at Biglari Holdings, has represented the Biglari family for years, Protz alleges in the suit. Patrick Danner, San Antonio Express-News, "Biglari CEO awards himself 800% pay raise for 2017," 28 Mar. 2018 Argentina had previously been classified as a frontier index and Saudi Arabia was a stand-alone index. Nicolas Parasie, WSJ, "Argentina to Join Widely Watched Emerging Markets Index By MSCI," 20 June 2018 Because of the structural supports in place, it's classified as a building – a 100-acre building that runs beneath both the Louisville Zoo and Watterson Expressway. Jeffrey Lee Puckett, The Courier-Journal, "10 fun (and weird) facts about Louisville you probably didn't know," 18 June 2018 Currently housing fewer than 999 head, the Valley Oaks Steak Co. facility was classified as a Class II animal feeding operation. Rick Montgomery, kansascity, "Missouri approves permit to expand cattle feedlot by Powell Gardens; appeal expected," 15 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'classify.' 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 classify

1776, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for classify

see class entry 1

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Statistics for classify

Last Updated

7 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for classify

The first known use of classify was in 1776

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More Definitions for classify



English Language Learners Definition of classify

: to arrange (people or things) into groups based on ways that they are alike

: to consider (someone or something) as belonging to a particular group


clas·​si·​fy | \ˈkla-sə-ˌfī \
classified; classifying

Kids Definition of classify

: to arrange in groups based on similarities Our librarians classify books by subject.


transitive verb
clas·​si·​fy | \ˈklas-ə-ˌfī \
classified; classifying

Medical Definition of classify 

: to arrange in classes that have systematic relations usually founded on common properties how would you classify these animals

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More from Merriam-Webster on classify

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for classify

Spanish Central: Translation of classify

Nglish: Translation of classify for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of classify for Arabic Speakers

Comments on classify

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playful or foolish behavior

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