Meaning of DEFINITION in English


ˌdefəˈnishən noun

( -s )

Etymology: Middle English diffinicioun, from Middle French diffinition, definition, from Latin definition-, definitio, from definitus (past participle of definire to determine, bring to an end, explain) + -ion-, -io -ion — more at define

1. : an act of determining or settling: as

a. Roman Catholicism : an official ecclesiastical statement concerning a matter of faith or of morals as pertaining to faith

b. : a prescribed or official standard for a commercial product

the definition for oatmeal prescribes that the amount of nitrogen contained shall not be less than 2.24 percent — Scientific Monthly

c. : the fixing or determination of social character

personal status is a matter of social definition

society has changed its definition of women's political rights

2. : a word or phrase expressing the essential nature of a person or thing or class of persons or of things : an answer to the question “what is x?” or “what is an x?”


a. : a statement of the meaning of a word or word group

the definitions in a dictionary

b. : the action or process of stating the meaning of a word or word group


a. in Aristotelianism : a determination of the real nature of a species by indicating both the genus that includes it and the specific differences or distinguishing marks

b. in symbolic logic

(1) : an equation between a single symbol and a combination of symbols for which it is an abbreviation (as 1 = d f 0 1 reading “1 is the successor of zero”where the special sign of equality indicates that the symbol on the left is always replaceable by the expression on the right) — see recursive definition

(2) : a statement of the meaning to be attached to some symbols of a calculus when that calculus is given some particular interpretation (as S xy = x is the immediate successor of y ) — called also correlative definition, semantic definition; ; see nominal definition , persuasive definition , real definition


a. : the action or the power of making definite and clear or of bringing into sharp relief

an emotion beyond definition

the definition of a telescope

b. : distinctness of outline or detail (as in a photograph) : clarity especially of musical sound in reproduction

c. : sharp demarcation of outlines or limits

a problem of clear definition

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