Synonym Chooser

How does the verb determine differ from other similar words?

Some common synonyms of determine are decide, resolve, rule, and settle. While all these words mean "to come or cause to come to a conclusion," determine implies fixing the identity, character, scope, or direction of something.

determined the cause of the problem

When is it sensible to use decide instead of determine?

The words decide and determine are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, decide implies previous consideration of a matter causing doubt, wavering, debate, or controversy.

she decided to sell her house

When might resolve be a better fit than determine?

The synonyms resolve and determine are sometimes interchangeable, but resolve implies an expressed or clear decision or determination to do or refrain from doing something.

he resolved to quit smoking

When would rule be a good substitute for determine?

The meanings of rule and determine largely overlap; however, rule implies a determination by judicial or administrative authority.

the judge ruled that the evidence was inadmissible

When can settle be used instead of determine?

Although the words settle and determine have much in common, settle implies a decision reached by someone with power to end all dispute or uncertainty.

the dean's decision settled the campus alcohol policy

Thesaurus Entries Near determine

Cite this Entry

“Determine.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Nov. 2023.

More from Merriam-Webster on determine

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