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

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Other Words from definition

definitional \ ˌde-​fə-​ˈni-​shə-​nᵊl How to pronounce definitional (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
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Recent Examples on the Web The definition is a jarring oversimplification of a virus identified just six months ago in China and may leave survivors with damage that’s complicated and still not fully understood., "Michigan’s definition of coronavirus ‘recovery’ looser than other states," 10 May 2020 But at the federal level, the definition as established under the CARES Act, which President Trump signed into law March 27th, is still relatively vague. Time, "The First Rounds of Coronavirus Relief Didn't Include Primary Caregivers. These Lawmakers Want to Change That," 30 Apr. 2020 Minimalism had recently gone super-mainstream after decades—or, by some definitions, eons—of insurgency. Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, "The Pandemic Has Made a Mockery of Minimalism," 23 Apr. 2020 The definition of light is the natural agent that stimulates sight and makes things visible. Gabrielle Chung,, "Texas Girl, 10, Who Made Masks for Health Care Workers amid Coronavirus Crisis Dies in ATV Accident," 21 Apr. 2020 An important step on the journey to reset is re-thinking and reframing our definition of an emergency response; and key to this is internalizing the preventable nature of (this and future) health emergencies. Tolu Oni, Quartz Africa, "This is the best time to plan for urban Africa’s next health emergency," 16 Apr. 2020 But the medical definition of airborne is a bit more specific, which can be confusing, says Dr. Randall. Kasandra Brabaw,, "Is Coronavirus Airborne? The Answer May Not Be So Simple," 3 Apr. 2020 Even more than the color, the definition of my curls is crucial. Cheryl Kramer Kaye, Better Homes & Gardens, "Stylists Reveal Their Best Care Tips for Gorgeous Gray Hair," 2 Apr. 2020 That definition was limited to very specific travel conditions that are now changing, making many more people eligible for testing. Delaram J. Taghipour, ABC News, "How telehealth can help fight novel coronavirus," 6 Mar. 2020

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.

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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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Time Traveler for definition

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for definition

Last Updated

25 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Definition.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 May. 2020.

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More Definitions for definition


How to pronounce definition (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of definition

: an explanation of the meaning of a word, phrase, etc. : a statement that defines a word, phrase, etc.
: a statement that describes what something is
: a clear or perfect example of a person or thing


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

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