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

But in 2017-18, KPBS said, the district said 315 students were homeless and 232 were classified as doubled up. Michael Smolens,, "Progress is hard to come by in San Diego's fight against homelessness," 22 June 2018 And of those that were correctly classified, nearly half were not arrhythmic — involving an irregular heartbeat — meaning that defibrillators or CPR would not have saved the person, the study found. Kimberly Veklerov,, "Deaths often misclassified as cardiac arrest, UCSF study finds," 18 June 2018 The investigation looked into whether those emails were classified, as well as Clinton's deletion of roughly 30,000 emails after she and other former secretaries of state were told in 2014 to preserve their emails. CBS News, "DOJ Inspector General report on handling of Clinton email probe to be released — live updates," 14 June 2018 North America’s fourth largest city might also be its least understood and, with a broad mix of cultures, the hardest to classify. Mosha Lundström Halbert, Vogue, "The Cool Girl’s Guide to Toronto," 27 Dec. 2018 In any botanist's book that means they're technically classified as fruits — specifically a kind called drupes, a.k.a. stone fruits. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "It Turns Out Olives Are Actually Fruits and Not Vegetables," 11 Dec. 2018 The house and its grounds have long since been classified as a Monument Historique, which means that the French government, in the interest of preserving the property’s authenticity, must approve any renovations. James Mcauley, Town & Country, "The Tragic, Fascinating History of Santo Sospir," 13 Aug. 2018 Nutritionists: Yes The Whole Grains Council recognizes quinoa's status as a pseudocereal, but still classifies it as a whole grain due to the similar method of preparation and nutrient profile. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "Is Quinoa a Grain? 100% Yes, According to Nutritionists," 10 Dec. 2018 The Mississippi Senate race had mostly flown under the radar, even as election forecasters have classified it as competitive, until last week. Dylan Scott, Vox, "The Mississippi Senate runoff, Dems’ last chance for one more 2018 upset, explained," 20 Nov. 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

17 Jan 2019

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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

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