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 The size of the area classified under moderate and severe drought, which covered large parts of central Maryland and northwest Virginia a week ago, also contracted this week. Ian Livingston, Washington Post, 28 Sep. 2023 Many scientists don’t really care how they are classified by others. Jeffrey I. Seeman, The Conversation, 28 Sep. 2023 Bennu has also been of interest to scientists because, like other near-Earth asteroids, it is classified as a potentially hazardous object. Denise Chow, NBC News, 24 Sep. 2023 Risk Factors for Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer Characteristics of Stage 2 Lung Cancers Lung cancer staging is a process used to classify the severity of the disease. Sanja Jelic, Verywell Health, 22 Sep. 2023 Its most recent survey, from 2021, found that more than 80% of support staff made $50,000 or less per year, which the federal government classifies as low-income in Los Angeles County. Jennifer Swann, Los Angeles Times, 22 Sep. 2023 But those hired after 2007 are classified as lower tier and earn far less — up to about $17 an hour. Anne Marie Lee, CBS News, 19 Sep. 2023 If charged and convicted, those violations are classified as Class B and Class C felonies, respectively, carry terms of imprisonment of 5 to 20 years in state prison. Staff Report, Arkansas Online, 17 Sep. 2023 Officials on Cape Cod and the islands are preparing for the potential impacts of Hurricane Lee, which was classified Tuesday as a Category 3 storm in the Atlantic Ocean north of Puerto Rico but is expected to move up the coastline and reach New England this weekend. Jeremy C. Fox,, 12 Sep. 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 4 Oct. 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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