determine

verb

de·​ter·​mine di-ˈtər-mən How to pronounce determine (audio)
dē-
determined; determining

transitive verb

1
a
: to fix conclusively or authoritatively
determine national policy
b
law : to decide by judicial sentence
determine a plea
c
: to settle or decide by choice of alternatives or possibilities
trying to determine the best time to go
d
: resolve
she determined to do better
2
a
: to fix the form, position, or character of beforehand : ordain
two points determine a straight line
the extent to which genetics determines one's personality
b
: to bring about as a result : regulate
demand determines the price
3
a
: to fix the boundaries of
b
: to limit in extent or scope
c
: to put or set an end to : terminate
determine an estate
4
: to find out or come to a decision about by investigation, reasoning, or calculation
determine the answer to the problem
determine a position at sea
5
biology : to bring about the determination (see determination sense 7) of
determine the fate of a cell

intransitive verb

1
: to come to a decision
had determined on becoming a doctor
2
: to come to an end or become void
Choose the Right Synonym for determine

decide, determine, settle, rule, resolve mean to come or cause to come to a conclusion.

decide implies previous consideration of a matter causing doubt, wavering, debate, or controversy.

she decided to sell her house

determine implies fixing the identity, character, scope, or direction of something.

determined the cause of the problem

settle implies a decision reached by someone with power to end all dispute or uncertainty.

the dean's decision settled the campus alcohol policy

rule implies a determination by judicial or administrative authority.

the judge ruled that the evidence was inadmissible

resolve implies an expressed or clear decision or determination to do or refrain from doing something.

he resolved to quit smoking

discover, ascertain, determine, unearth, learn mean to find out what one did not previously know.

discover may apply to something requiring exploration or investigation or to a chance encounter.

discovered the source of the river

ascertain implies effort to find the facts or the truth proceeding from awareness of ignorance or uncertainty.

attempts to ascertain the population of the region

determine emphasizes the intent to establish the facts definitely or precisely.

unable to determine the origin of the word

unearth implies bringing to light something forgotten or hidden.

unearth old records

learn may imply acquiring knowledge with little effort or conscious intention (as by simply being told) or it may imply study and practice.

I learned her name only today
learning Greek

Examples of determine in a Sentence

The new policy will be determined by a special committee. The demand for a product determines its price. He believes that one's personality is determined mostly by genetics. An autopsy will be performed to determine the cause of death. They are unable to accurately determine the ship's position at this time. Scholars have determined that the book was written in the late 16th century. I am trying to determine what happened and when. They are determining if they should stay. They determined to leave immediately.
Recent Examples on the Web Smith’s brother, Chris Volz, said authorities later determined his sister died of a carotid artery dissection in her neck, according to ABC News. Abigail Adams, Peoplemag, 12 June 2024 The release said none of the carcasses had been recovered for testing to determine the cause and confirmation of illness. Abigail Celaya, The Arizona Republic, 12 June 2024 Police have not yet determined if anyone injured in the shooting fired shots and no arrests have been announced as of Tuesday morning. Katie Wiseman, The Indianapolis Star, 12 June 2024 Authorities determined that Lopez Nunez had assaulted the girl multiple times since March in an investigation by SJPD’s Internet Crimes Against Children/Child Exploitation Detail Task Force, police added. Caelyn Pender, The Mercury News, 12 June 2024 See all Example Sentences for determine 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'determine.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Middle English, from Anglo-French determiner, from Latin determinare, from de- + terminare to limit, from terminus boundary, limit — more at term entry 1

First Known Use

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

Time Traveler
The first known use of determine was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near determine

Cite this Entry

“Determine.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/determine. Accessed 22 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition

determine

verb
de·​ter·​mine di-ˈtər-mən How to pronounce determine (audio)
determined; determining
-ˈtərm-(ə-)niŋ
1
a
: to fix exactly or with authority
determine who will be president
b
: to have a strong influence on : govern
demand determines the price
2
: to find out or come to a decision
determine the answer to the problem
she determined to do better
3
: to be the cause of or reason for
a pupil's work determines his grade

Medical Definition

determine

transitive verb
de·​ter·​mine di-ˈtər-mən How to pronounce determine (audio)
determined; determining -ˈtərm-(ə-)niŋ How to pronounce determine (audio)
1
a
: to obtain definite information about with regard to quantity, character, magnitude, or location
determine the ionic concentration
determine the creatinine in blood serum
b
: to discover the taxonomic position or the generic and specific names of
2
: to bring about the determination of
determine the fate of a cell

Legal Definition

determine

transitive verb
de·​ter·​mine
determined; determining
: to make a determination regarding

More from Merriam-Webster on determine

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