clas·​si·​fy | \ ˈkla-sə-ˌfī How to pronounce classify (audio) \
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.

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from classify

classifiable \ ˌkla-​sə-​ˈfī-​ə-​bəl How to pronounce classify (audio) \ 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 Establishments that sell food and generate less than half of their revenue from alcohol can classify as restaurants through the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission. Claire Ballor, Dallas News, "Alcohol to-go, vaccines and more takeout: 6 restaurant trends to watch in 2021," 8 Jan. 2021 Killing Prop 22 lookalikes and maintaining the status quo or even getting Lyft and Uber to classify their drivers as employees is clearly not a long-term solution. Nick Martin, The New Republic, "The Exciting New Trick That Converts Good Jobs Into Crappy Gig Work," 6 Jan. 2021 Local officials now classify the overall risk that the virus poses to residents as severe. Lauren Caruba,, "San Antonio’s coronavirus positivity rate spikes to 19.2 percent as COVID-19 hospitalizations approach summer levels," 28 Dec. 2020 Every scientific attempt to classify humans racially has failed. WSJ, "Why Do We Still Count by Race Like We Do?," 4 Dec. 2020 But independent truckers would be covered by California law, which would appear to classify them as employees. Bob Egelko,, "State court says truckers in California can be classified as employees," 23 Nov. 2020 In order to classify as a restaurant, more than 51% of an establishment’s revenue must come from food sales. Claire Ballor, Dallas News, "Bar owners call for more clarity from Dallas County officials after Judge Jenkins declines to reopen bars," 9 Oct. 2020 At the time, slavery remained legal and efforts to classify people and animals were popular among pseudo-scientists. Claire Bugos, Smithsonian Magazine, "Kerry James Marshall’s New Paintings Consider Blackness and Audubon’s Legacy," 5 Aug. 2020 The seat belt tension sensor may incorrectly classify a child occupant as an adult. USA TODAY, "Car recalls for October 1-8," 8 Oct. 2020

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.

See More

First Known Use of classify

1776, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for classify

see class entry 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about classify

Time Traveler for classify

Time Traveler

The first known use of classify was in 1776

See more words from the same year

Statistics for classify

Last Updated

17 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Classify.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Jan. 2021.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for classify


How to pronounce classify (audio)

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 How to pronounce classify (audio) \
classified; classifying

Kids Definition of classify

: to arrange in groups based on similarities Our librarians classify books by subject.
clas·​si·​fy | \ ˈklas-ə-ˌfī How to pronounce classify (audio) \
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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on classify

What made you want to look up classify? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

Words of Snow and Ice Quiz

  • image1037863653
  • Which of the following refers to thin, bending ice, or to the act of running over such ice?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.


Anagram puzzles meet word search.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!