clas·​si·​fy ˈkla-sə-ˌfī How to pronounce classify (audio)
classified; classifying

transitive verb

: to arrange in classes (see class entry 1 sense 3)
classifying books according to subject matter
: 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.
classifiable 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 Once communications are in the government's possession, however, federal agents are free to query, or search, them under procedures approved by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, an 11-judge panel whose proceedings are classified and deliberated ex parte. Dell Cameron, WIRED, 28 Nov. 2023 Then second category, security tokens, which are tradable assets held for investment purposes and classified as securities. Tax Notes Staff, Forbes, 28 Nov. 2023 Golconda produced stones with a total lack of nitrogen, the element that gives diamonds a yellowish tinge, and classified them as Type IIa. Jill Newman, Robb Report, 18 Nov. 2023 But because The Epoch Times and Prager U have classified their videos as documentaries, and edited the trailers to remove any potentially violating content, the companies are allowed to directly promote videos that would violate YouTube and X’s hate speech policies if posted in their entirety. Ct Jones, Rolling Stone, 13 Nov. 2023 Marcio Jose Sanchez / AP The B-21 Raider is the first new American bomber aircraft in more than 30 years, and almost every aspect of the program is classified. CBS News, 10 Nov. 2023 The incident was classified as a hit and run, according to a police report. Tim Carman, Washington Post, 10 Nov. 2023 Another 13 canisters of material from the dismantlement that are classified as greater than Class C waste will go into the horizontal storage facility. Rob Nikolewski, San Diego Union-Tribune, 16 Nov. 2023 The Clark County Medical Examiner’s Office concluded that the 17-year-old died of blunt-force trauma and classified his death as a homicide. Timothy Bella, Washington Post, 15 Nov. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'classify.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


see class entry 1

First Known Use

1776, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of classify was in 1776

Dictionary Entries Near classify

Cite this Entry

“Classify.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


clas·​si·​fy ˈklas-ə-ˌfī How to pronounce classify (audio)
classified; classifying
: to arrange in or assign to classes
classify books by subjects
classifiable adjective

Medical Definition


transitive verb
clas·​si·​fy ˈklas-ə-ˌfī How to pronounce classify (audio)
classified; classifying
: to arrange in classes that have systematic relations usually founded on common properties
how would you classify these animals

More from Merriam-Webster on classify

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