Meaning of CENTER in English

I. ˈsentə(r) noun

( -s )

Usage: see -er, often attributive

Etymology: Middle English centre, from Middle French, from Latin centrum, from Greek kentron sharp point, stationary point of a drawing compass, center of a circle, from kentein to prick, goad; akin to Old High German hantag pointed, Old Norse hannarr skillful, Gothic handugs wise, Latvian sīts hunting spear


a. : the point around which a circle or sphere is described : the point equidistant from all points on a circumference ; broadly : middle : the point at an average distance from the exterior angles, points, or lines of a figure or body

b. archaic : the middle point of the earth

2. : a point around which things revolve ; often : a focal point for attraction, concentration, or activity : a point, area, person, or thing that is most important or pivotal in relation to an indicated activity, interest, or condition

St. Thomas and his God placed man in the center of the universe and made the sun and stars for his uses — Henry Adams

a. : pivot , axis : cardinal point

the center from which the spokes branch out

b. : a point, area, person, or thing upon which attention, feeling, or action converges : focus

the old school was the center of our lives somehow: dances, socials, Sunday services, political meetings — E.A.McCourt

the … Abilene region … has been the center of considerable controversy — R.W.Murray

c. : a place, area, person, group, or concentration marked significantly or dominatingly by an indicated activity, pursuit, interest, or appeal

a railroad center

a tobacco center

a center for textile research

the landing … is usually the center of much activity, because of the constant ferrying — American Guide Series: Rhode Island

the Emperor Napoleon was the real center of French sympathy for the South — A.L.Churchill

d. : a source or point of origin for an influence, force, process, action, or effect : heart : a vital or stimulating factor

intensive propaganda from the center — Alex Comfort

e. : a group of nerve cells having a common function

the respiratory center

the visual or motor center

f. : a region showing concentration of population : a large city

do not produce here or import … from any other provincial center such perfect musical tailoring — Virgil Thomson

g. : a group of activities of the military each under its own commander but all having closely related functions and an overall commander

medical center

separation center

h. : a concentration of requisite facilities for an activity, pursuit, or interest along with various likely adjunct conveniences

shopping center

medical center

amusement center

i. : the ultimate head of an endocentric construction

3. : middle part in contrast to sides, boundaries, outskirts, circumference, or peripheral features : middle area : midst

the crown or arching center of the road — Thomas DeQuincey

at the center of the battle

: a person or persons stationed or acting at or near the middle : a thing placed at the middle : a shot or stroke toward the middle:

a. : core , nucleus : material constituting a middle part

chocolates with hard centers

b. : the middle element laterally of a military formation

c. sometimes capitalized : legislators and other political figures holding moderate views especially between those of conservatives and liberals ; especially : legislators holding moderate views and occupying seats in the middle of a chamber between the right and the left

d. sometimes capitalizeditalized : a position marked by moderation of political, economic, social, or religious views ; also : adherents of moderate views

e. : the middle part of a theater stage : the most prominent part

f. : a part of a ballet practice floor away from the bar

ballet exercises are easier done at the bar than in the center

4. : centering I


a. : a player position in the middle of a playing surface or of a line of player positions:

(1) : the position in the line in football between the guards, the lineman in this position having the extra duty of handing or passing the ball to a back to start each of his team's downs

(2) : the position in basketball in the center circle at the start of play, the player of this position engaging in the center jump

(3) : the position in hockey and lacrosse in the mid-area facing circle, the player of this position engaging in the initial face-off

(4) : center three-quarter

b. : the player of this position


a. : a pass of a puck or ball in hockey or lacrosse from either side to or toward the middle of the playing surface

b. : the handing or passing of a football by the center from his position in the line of scrimmage to one of the backs

his bad center sailed over the fullback's head

c. : the starting point of a skating figure


a. : one of two tapered metal rods that support work in a lathe or grinding machine and about or with which the work revolves

b. : a conical recess in the end of work (as a shaft) for receiving such a center


middle , midst , focus , nucleus , heart , core , hub : in the meaning of that around which a circumference or periphery exists and in the metaphorical extensions of this, these words are often interchangeable and are often used together

the very center and focus of literary education — F.N.Robinson

the true center of the book is its core of irony — Dayton Kohler

making that Sunday school what it ought to have been … the heart and focus of the parochial life — Compton Mackenzie

In its geometrical sense center suggests more exactness than middle. The latter word may be used for considerations of time

in the middle (but not the center ) of the night

or of a sequence

the middle of a series

center differs further from middle in being able to suggest capacity for acting, influencing, effecting. Contrast “he was the center of the conflict” and “he was in the middle of the conflict”. midst suggests location well within a perimeter or situation of being surrounded or beset by matters important, demanding, or threatening

the small democratic island in the midst of the European sea of dictatorship — Books Abroad

we were in the midst of the foam, which boiled around us — Frederick Marryat

focus may suggest a center to which lines converge or on which forces act

gold — the focus of desire — Bernard De Voto

the focus of religious life was the church building — H.S.Bennett

nucleus suggests a center likely to grow, increase, undergo accretion, acquire surrounding or additional matter, force, or numbers

not primarily boarding schools but rather day schools with a nucleus of boarders — J.B.Conant

these two institutions have provided our Army and our Navy with the nucleus of their corps of officers — C.T.Lanham

heart indicates a center which either gives an essential nature to the whole or serves as a vital, positive, or motivating part

sense knowledge cannot therefore be genuine knowledge, for it does not … get at the heart of reality — Frank Thilly

the industrial northeast, widening westward, became the ruling region, the economic heart; the plantation South and the agrarian West became colonies — Roger Burlingame

core may add to the ideas of nucleus and heart the idea of resistant firmness in which reliability may be placed and imply that peripheral matters are unimportant and adventitious

the core or the nucleus upon which all the other civilized democracies of Europe … can one day rally — Sir Winston Churchill

the core of the book, to wit, the allegory — J.L.Lowes

hub may contrast with focus and suggest a center whence lines or influences radiate out, a center on which matters peripheral may depend

the hub of roads fanning out to the four points of the compass — New York Times

some activities … are relatively isolated; other activities such as those at Pearl Harbor are grouped together to form a vast naval hub — All Hands

II. verb

( centered ; centered ; centering -ntəriŋ, -n.triŋ ; centers )

Usage: see -er

transitive verb


a. : to place or fix at a center or central area or position

center a typewriter carriage

center a picture on a wall

the shaft is centered in a city square — American Guide Series: Minnesota

b. : to place near a center : cluster near a focal point

a hamlet that was centered around the church

2. : to gather to or around a center, fixed point, or pivot : draw together within a limit : collect , concentrate , focus

a story to tell, centered around the political development of a great state — J.T.Adams

everything had prepared the Boston mind to center its thoughts on history — Van Wyck Brooks

all work on the plantation was centered on raising foodstuffs — A.W.Long

more scholarship than is usual was centered around the main problems

3. : to constitute a center of or for : serve as center or centerpiece for : occupy or adorn the center of : give, form, or shape a center for

the business square, neat and compact, centers the village — American Guide Series: Vermont

a bowl of white flowers centered the table


a. : to rig up between centers (as in a lathe)

b. : to form a recess or indentation in (work) for the reception of a center (as in a lathe)


a. : to adjust (lenses, mirrors, or other elements in an optical system) so that the axes coincide

b. : to grind the periphery of (a lens or mirror) to make optical center coincide with geometrical center


a. : to pass (a ball or a puck) from either side to or toward the middle of the playing area

b. : to play center on (a team)

c. : to hand or pass (a football) backward between one's legs from a position on the ground at the line of scrimmage to a back to begin a down


a. : to perforate (a stamp) so that all four margins are of equal width

b. : to place (a stamp) in relation to the perforations

a stamp may be centered to the right or left

a stamp well centered

intransitive verb

1. obsolete : to rest on something as a cardinal point


a. : to have a center : cluster or be concentrated : pivot or revolve : focus — used with in, at, on, upon, about, or around

the community centers around a small circular park — American Guide Series: Arkansas

the tribal organization centered in the chief

b. : to be primarily concerned : have a dominant theme or climax — used with in, at, on, about, or around

another trilogy … would have centered in the battle of Gettysburg — Carl Van Doren

discussions centering successively about such subjects as the weather, the house, the farm — M.L.Hanley

III. adjective

Usage: see -er

: central : constituting a center : occupying or occurring at a center : middle

a center table

a center panel

a center seat in a theater

the center aisle

IV. noun

: the center of the circle inscribed in a regular polygon

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.