[field] n [ME, fr. OE feld; akin to OHG feld field, OE flor floor--more at floor] (bef. 12c) 1 a (1): an open land area free of woods and buildings (2): an area of land marked by the presence of particular objects or features "dune ~" b (1): an area of cleared enclosed land used for cultivation or pasture "a ~ of wheat" (2): land containing a natural resource (3): airfield c: the place where a battle is fought; also: battle d: a large unbroken expanse (as of ice)
2. a: an area or division of an activity b: the sphere of practical operation outside a base (as a laboratory, office, or factory) "geologists working in the ~" c: an area for military exercises or maneuvers d (1): an area constructed, equipped, or marked for sports (2): the portion of an indoor or outdoor sports area enclosed by the running track and on which field events are conducted (3): any of the three sections of a baseball outfield "hits to all ~s"
3: a space on which something is drawn or projected: as a: the space on the surface of a coin, medal, or seal that does not contain the design b: the ground of each division in a flag c: the whole surface of an escutcheon
4: the individuals that make up all or part of the participants in a sports activity; esp: all participants with the exception of the favorite or the winner in a contest where more than two are entered
5: the area visible through the lens of an optical instrument
6. a: a region or space in which a given effect (as magnetism) exists b: a region of embryonic tissue capable of a particular type of differentiation "a morphogenetic ~" 7: a set of mathematical elements that is subject to two binary operations the second of which is distributive relative to the first and that constitutes a commutative group under the first operation and also under the second if the zero or unit element under the first is omitted 8: a complex of forces that serve as causative agents in human behavior 9: a series of drain tiles and an absorption area for septic-tank overflow 10: a particular area (as of a record in a database) in which the same type of information is regularly recorded
field adj (12c): of or relating to a field: as a: growing in or inhabiting the fields or open country b: made, conducted, or used in the field c: operating or active in the field field vt (1823) 1 a: to catch or pick up (a batted ball) and usu. throw to a teammate b: to take care of or respond to (as a telephone call or a request) c: to give an impromptu answer or solution to "the senator ~ed the reporters' questions"
2: to put into the field "~ an army" "~ a team"; also: to enter in competition ~ vi: to play as a fielder