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

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 See More
Recent Examples on the Web Yet the last recession declared by the NBER — for the period from March to April 2020, when the country was hit by the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic — met only the first half of that definition. Somesh Jha, Los Angeles Times, 28 July 2022 Pencils give me just the right amount of definition and work best with the popular kitten eye trend, which is a more subtle and diffused version of the cat-eye that works great on all eye shapes. Ariana Yaptangco, Glamour, 11 July 2022 Here the flowers in the background lack some of the definition seen in the Windows shot. Kyle Orland, Ars Technica, 6 July 2022 The ability of a single portrait to capture beauty, history, progress and the power of self-definition was one of Parks’s great strengths as an artist. Robin Givhan, Washington Post, 9 June 2022 In its partial lack of definition, the dad bod could stand in for dads’ self-image on the whole. Daniel Engber, The Atlantic, 7 June 2022 And then on top of that is this exploiting vulnerable people to your own advantage in front of the crowd — sort of the definition of a lack of character. San Diego Union-Tribune, 5 June 2022 The embrace of the definition of stakeholders and the ESG movement with special focus on diversity equity and inclusion was particularly catalyzed by George Floyd. Betsy Atkins, Forbes, 1 June 2022 There is no universal definition of a mass shooting. Elahe Izadi, Washington Post, 9 July 2022 See More

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.

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

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Last Updated

2 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Definition.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for definition


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

More from Merriam-Webster on definition

Nglish: Translation of definition for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of definition for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about definition


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