con·​fig·​u·​ra·​tion | \ kən-ˌfi-gyə-ˈrā-shən How to pronounce configuration (audio) , ˌkän-, -gə-ˈrā- \

Definition of configuration

1a : relative arrangement of parts or elements: such as
(1) : shape
(2) : contour of land configuration of the mountains
(3) : functional arrangement a small business computer system in its simplest configuration
b : something (such as a figure, contour, pattern, or apparatus) that results from a particular arrangement of parts or components
c : the stable structural makeup of a chemical compound especially with reference to the space relations of the constituent atoms
2 : gestalt personality configuration

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Other Words from configuration

configurational \ kən-​ˌfi-​gyə-​ˈrā-​shnəl How to pronounce configuration (audio) , -​shə-​nᵊl , ˌkän-​ , -​gə-​ˈrā-​ \ adjective
configurationally adverb
configurative \ kən-​ˈfi-​gyə-​rə-​tiv How to pronounce configuration (audio) , -​ˈfi-​gə-​ , ˌkän-​ \ adjective

Did You Know?

The term is very common in computer science and mathematics, and in scientific and technological fields in general. Thus, for example, two scientists won a 1962 Nobel Prize for their description of the configuration of the DNA molecule. Since then, researchers have studied what different configurations within the DNA strands mean and what they control, and genetic engineers have tried to configure or reconfigure DNA in new ways to prevent or treat diseases.

Examples of configuration in a Sentence

We'll have to change the configuration of the system to accommodate the new server. the basic configuration of the building is that of a geodesic dome
Recent Examples on the Web His comments raised the question of whether the WHO, in its current configuration, has the diplomatic weight and capacity to conduct an investigation that China is likely to obstruct. Stephen Collinson, CNN, 27 May 2021 Senior City Planner Kara Hamley O’Donnell noted that in its current configuration, Lee Road is a busy regional thoroughfare that carries about 23,400 cars a day. Thomas Jewell, cleveland, 11 May 2021 The home is 2,187 square feet with three bedrooms and two bathrooms, all in their original configuration, Middleton said. Mary Grace Granados, Dallas News, 7 May 2021 This seems like a harmless configuration file in which there is almost no difference between the previous file and the new one, which, as Apple says, remains installed on your system. Barry Collins, Forbes, 4 May 2021 That is just over 20% of stadium capacity in its configuration for the tournament. Graham Dunbar, Star Tribune, 23 Apr. 2021 His district, in its current configuration ahead of 2022 redistricting, is a Republican stronghold. David Mark, Washington Examiner, 14 Apr. 2021 The house in its original configuration was two-story brick with a central hallway on each floor, two large rooms on each side and a low, sloping hipped roof used to collect and channel rainwater to one or more cisterns. Rex Nelson, Arkansas Online, 3 Apr. 2021 Birkenstocks are beloved precisely because of their configuration: their squishy, flat footbed, their loose fitting straps, their easy, throw on demeanor. Elise Taylor, Vogue, 1 Apr. 2021

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

1559, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for configuration

earlier, "relative position of the planets," borrowed from Middle French & Late Latin; Middle French, "form, relative position of the planets," borrowed from Late Latin configūrātiōn-, configūrātiō "comparison, shaping," from Latin configūrāre "to shape, mold" + -tiōn-, -tiō, suffix of verbal action — more at configure

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Time Traveler for configuration

Time Traveler

The first known use of configuration was in 1559

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Statistics for configuration

Last Updated

12 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Configuration.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for configuration



English Language Learners Definition of configuration

: the way the parts of something are arranged
computers : the way a computer system or program is prepared for a particular use


con·​fig·​u·​ra·​tion | \ kən-ˌfig-(y)ə-ˈrā-shən, ˌkän- How to pronounce configuration (audio) \

Medical Definition of configuration

1a : relative arrangement of parts or elements
b : the stable structural makeup of a chemical compound especially with reference to the space relations of the constituent atoms
2 : gestalt personality configuration

Other Words from configuration

configurational \ -​shnəl, -​shən-​ᵊl How to pronounce configuration (audio) \ adjective
configurationally \ -​ē How to pronounce configuration (audio) \ adverb
configurative \ -​ˈfig-​(y)ə-​rət-​iv How to pronounce configuration (audio) \ adjective


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