de·​ter·​mi·​na·​tion | \di-ˌtər-mə-ˈnā-shən \

Definition of determination 

1a law : a judicial decision settling and ending a controversy the court's determination in that case documents that will be used for the determination of ownership judicial determinations

b : the resolving of a question by argument or reasoning Inspectors made the determination that the building is unsafe.

2 archaic : termination

3a : the act of deciding definitely and firmly also : the result of such an act of decision

b : firm or fixed intention to achieve a desired end a woman of great courage and determination fierce determination to succeed

4 : a fixing or finding of the position, magnitude, value, or character of something: such as

a : the act, process, or result of an accurate measurement more precise determination of the size of the tumor

b biology : an identification of the taxonomic position of a plant or animal

5 philosophy

a : the definition of a concept in logic by its essential constituents (see constituent entry 1 sense 2)

b : the addition of a differentia to a concept to limit its denotation

6 : direction or tendency to a certain end : impulsion

7 biology : the fixation of the destiny of undifferentiated embryonic tissue

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Examples of determination in a Sentence

What he lacked in talent he made up for in determination. The new instruments allow for more precise determination of the size of the tumor. The document will be used for determination of ownership.
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Recent Examples on the Web

The moon landing is the story of what makes America great: our determination in the face of challenges, our industrial might, and the ties that bind us together. Kevin Mccarthy, WSJ, "Republicans Reach for the Moon," 4 Nov. 2018 Trump’s determination to conciliate Putin can’t be dismissed as casual trolling or some idle attraction to a friendly face. Jonathan Chait, Daily Intelligencer, "Will Trump Be Meeting With His Counterpart — Or His Handler?," 8 July 2018 Sirijai’s determination has inspired a whole network of Dare to Return farmers who are now fully integrated into local communities and organizations. Prisana Kongwong, The Christian Science Monitor, "Why young professionals are taking up farming in Thailand," 2 July 2018 While the board is expected to make determinations in the case, Suiter’s death is still being investigated by the department’s homicide unit, and ultimately, the department will take any official actions regarding the case. Jessica Anderson,, "Board reviewing Baltimore Police Det. Sean Suiter's death plans to issue findings next month," 28 June 2018 Police came and whisked them out of the neighborhood, signaling Farrell’s determination to keep the area clear. San Francisco Chronicle, "“There is a suitcase full of human s— on the corner of Isis and 13th,” the email read. “Last night, I had to threaten violence to a man smoking crystal meth on my front porch. This morning, my 2-year-old son and I watched a rat rummage through the trash in our gutter.," 25 June 2018 Many conservatives see a red-team exercise as a vehicle for attacking EPA's endangerment finding for greenhouse gases, the scientific determination that underpins the agency's climate change regulations. Robin Bravender, Science | AAAS, "Obama official would have led EPA’s climate science debate—if all agencies took part," 13 June 2018 Schaeffer’s determination to spread the low-carbon gospel is not purely political or metaphysical. NBC News, "'Ecotopia' teaches low-carbon living to Californians who aren't waiting for Trump to save the climate," 2 June 2018 So the court, all the justices want to tread gingerly about not setting a precedent that will have judges and courts looking over the shoulder of executive national security determinations in the future. Fox News, "Corker on what foreign policy will look like under Pompeo," 29 Apr. 2018

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

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for determination

see determine

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Statistics for determination

Last Updated

13 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for determination

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

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More Definitions for determination



English Language Learners Definition of determination

: a quality that makes you continue trying to do or achieve something that is difficult

: the act of finding out or calculating something

: the act of officially deciding something


de·​ter·​mi·​na·​tion | \di-ˌtər-mə-ˈnā-shən \

Kids Definition of determination

1 : firm or fixed intention She set out with determination to complete the journey.

2 : an act of deciding or the decision reached Has the jury made a determination?

3 : an act of making sure of the position, size, or nature of something a determination of location


de·​ter·​mi·​na·​tion | \di-ˌtər-mə-ˈnā-shən \

Medical Definition of determination 

1 : a fixing or finding of the position, magnitude, quantity, value, or character of something: as

a : the act, process, or result of an accurate measurement

b : an identification of the taxonomic position of a plant or animal

2 : the fixation of the destiny of undifferentiated embryonic tissue — compare differentiation sense 2b

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Legal Definition of determination 

: a decision of a court or administrative agency regarding an issue, case, or claim

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Comments on determination

What made you want to look up determination? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to clear from alleged fault or guilt

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