def·​i·​ni·​tion | \ ˌde-fə-ˈni-shən How to pronounce definition (audio) \

Definition of definition

1a : a statement of the meaning of a word or word group or a sign or symbol dictionary definitions
b : a statement expressing the essential nature of something
c : a product of defining
2 : the action or process of stating the meaning of a word or word group
3a : the action or the power of describing, explaining, or making definite and clear the definition of a telescope her comic genius is beyond definition
b(1) : clarity of visual presentation : distinctness of outline or detail improve the definition of an image
(2) : clarity especially of musical sound in reproduction
c : sharp demarcation of outlines or limits a jacket with distinct waist definition
4 : an act of determining specifically : the formal proclamation of a Roman Catholic dogma

Other Words from definition

definitional \ ˌde-​fə-​ˈni-​shə-​nᵊl How to pronounce definition (audio) \ adjective

Examples of definition in a Sentence

For the last eight years or so, I've been watching the evolution of bikes made for women. At the beginning of that time, there were a small number of women's bikes available, most offered with low-end, sometimes no-name, spec, as if by definition all women riders were beginners. — Christine Bucher, Bicycling, March 2008 Not only is Ellen Byrne a chocolatier, but she takes the definition of artisan to a higher level. — Amy Johansson, Chocolatier, February/March 2006 One kind of poverty is that of the imagination—the inability to envision a future truly different from the present. Jasmine had long judged people based on whether or not they gave her food and clothing, but, as she watched Carolyn and Gus and other families, she found herself mulling different gauges of worth. She'd been working lately on a definition of love. — Katherine Boo, New Yorker, 28 Nov. 2005 Ideology thus provides definition of both systemic reality and values: it provides a set of preconceptions of what is and of what ought to be. — Warren J. Samuels, Modern Economic Thought, (1977) 1993 What is the legal definition of a corporation? A week of fishing is my definition of a vacation. a monitor with good definition and vibrant colors See More
Recent Examples on the Web Avery, a quietly formative force in American Modernism who died in 1965, has always resisted definition. Globe Staff,, 19 May 2022 So setting the right definition is likely to be a tricky task for any regulator. Darius Tahir, Fortune, 18 May 2022 Some of the locks appeared to take the idea of love beyond the romantic definition and instead link it to family or friendship. Maggie Menderski, The Courier-Journal, 18 May 2022 But they all must be located physically near the host data center to deliver the video in 90 to 120 frames per second, ideally with a 2K to 4K definition with less than 10 ms of latency. Steven Carlini, Forbes, 18 May 2022 The definition of emergency will vary by role and team. Alexandra Samuel, WSJ, 17 May 2022 Conference attendees are required to show that they are fully vaccinated, based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s definition. Paul Egan, Detroit Free Press, 16 May 2022 Rounding out our list is a brush that will create shape and definition on your face. Madison Yauger,, 16 May 2022 Specifically going for the environmental definition, the word 'sustainable' has related to being a method of harvesting or utilizing resources so that the main source (typically the earth) is not depleted or permanently damaged. Abby Dupes, Seventeen, 16 May 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'definition.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of definition

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 4

History and Etymology for definition

Middle English diffinicioun, borrowed from Anglo-French diffiniciun, definiciun, borrowed from Latin dēfīnītiōn-, dēfīnītiō "fixing of a boundary, precise description," from dēfīnīre "to mark the limits of, determine, define" + -tiōn-, -tiō, suffix of verbal action

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The first known use of definition was in the 14th century

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Last Updated

22 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Definition.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for definition


def·​i·​ni·​tion | \ ˌde-fə-ˈni-shən How to pronounce definition (audio) \

Kids Definition of definition

1 : a statement of the meaning of a word or a word group
2 : clearness of outline or detail You can adjust the screen for better definition.


def·​i·​ni·​tion | \ ˌdef-ə-ˈnish-ən How to pronounce definition (audio) \

Medical Definition of definition

: the action or the power of making definite and clear the definition of a microscope lens

More from Merriam-Webster on definition

Nglish: Translation of definition for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of definition for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about definition


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