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 coronavirus pandemic has also enlarged the definition of an American hero. John Blake, CNN, "Our country is in chaos. But it's a great time to be an American," 4 July 2020 With that floor of a definition laid, varieties of statehood could now emerge. George Blaustein, The New Republic, "Searching for Consolation in Max Weber’s Work Ethic," 2 July 2020 Financial growth and planning is a process and by definition should be monitored and adjusted. Nancy Tengler, USA TODAY, "Now is the time to set up a savings and investment plan," 28 June 2020 That is why leading public health experts are urging governments to protect nature as a part of their pandemic prevention strategies, something that protected areas do by definition. Rachel Golden Kroner, Scientific American, "Rolling Back Environmental Protections Under Cover of the Pandemic," 28 June 2020 Most items sell for $10.00 or less and the stores, by definition, dedicate less than 15% of shelf space to fresh food and produce. Robert Higgs, cleveland, "Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson OKs ban on new dollar stores while city considers new regulations," 25 June 2020 Jeanne, the state’s deputy health officer, was unaware of the precise definition the state was using. oregonlive, "Oregon says it now has about 600 contact tracers. But will that be enough?," 24 June 2020 But companies that venture beyond this narrow definition of diversity reap even larger rewards. Dayana Yochim, NBC News, "Pride Month: 12 key numbers highlighting the economic status, challenges that LGBTQ people face," 23 June 2020 By definition, any worthwhile discussion has to involve give and take. Paul Daugherty,, "Doc's Morning Line: Cincinnati Reds' Joey Votto sees the world from a wider lens," 8 June 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

8 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Definition.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Jul. 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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