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 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
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Recent Examples on the Web Sutton said the Oregon Health Authority continues to report these as breakthrough cases because it is obligated to follow the CDC definition. oregonlive, "Oregon reports 611 vaccinated people infected with COVID-19, 8 died," 7 May 2021 One player’s definition of a perfect Resident Evil game is another’s mark of where the series went astray. Gene Park, Washington Post, "Every Resident Evil game, ranked," 7 May 2021 Turkey, the modern-day successor of the Ottoman Empire, adamantly denies that the killings were part of a systematic plan to erase the Armenian population that would meet the U.N. definition of genocide. Madeline Roache, Time, "What Biden's Recognition of Armenian Genocide Means to Armenian-Americans," 27 Apr. 2021 Roughly 66 million people in India meet that definition, compared with about 99 million just before the pandemic last year, according to Pew Research estimates. New York Times, "Covid-19 Pushes India’s Middle Class Toward Poverty," 16 Apr. 2021 Republicans contend the plan is too costly and doesn’t meet the definition of infrastructure. Stephanie Armour, WSJ, "Biden Infrastructure Plan Would Fund Shift Toward Home Healthcare for Seniors," 12 Apr. 2021 Critics say teachers can overreport minor or unsubstantiated cases that don’t meet the legal definition of abuse, confusing poverty with neglect as heightened by racial and other biases, and clogging up the system. Sally Ho And Camille Fassett, Chron, "AP Exclusive: Pandemic means far fewer eyes on kids' welfare," 29 Mar. 2021 To meet the definition, the alcohol must be administered to the person under its influence without that person’s agreement, the high court ruled. NBC News, "Drunk rape victim was not 'mentally incapacitated,' Minnesota Supreme Court rules," 28 Mar. 2021 To meet the definition, the alcohol must be administered to the person under its influence without that person's agreement, the high court ruled. CBS News, "Rape victims not "mentally incapacitated" if they got drunk on their own, Minnesota Supreme Court rules," 26 Mar. 2021

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

10 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Definition.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for definition



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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