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Definition definitions

Webster's 1828 Dictionary

1. A brief description of a thing by its properties; as a definition of wit or of a circle.
2. In logic, the explication of the essence of a thing by its kind and difference.
3. In lexicography, an explanation of the signification of a word or term, or of what a word is understood to express.

WordNet (r) 3.0 (2005)

1: a concise explanation of the meaning of a word or phrase or symbol
2: clarity of outline; "exercise had given his muscles superior definition"

Merriam Webster's

noun Etymology: Middle English diffinicioun, from Anglo-French, from Latin definition-, definitio, from definire Date: 14th century 1. an act of determining; specifically the formal proclamation of a Roman Catholic dogma 2. a. a statement expressing the essential nature of something b. a statement of the meaning of a word or word group or a sign or symbol <dictionary definitions> c. a product of defining 3. the action or process of defining 4. a. 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> definitional adjective

Britannica Concise

In philosophy, the specification of the meaning of an expression relative to a language. Definitions may be classified as lexical, ostensive, and stipulative. Lexical definition specifies the meaning of an expression by stating it in terms of other expressions whose meaning is assumed to be known (e.g., a ewe is a female sheep). Ostensive definition specifies the meaning of an expression by pointing to examples of things to which the expression applies (e.g., green is the color of grass, limes, lily pads, and emeralds). Stipulative definition assigns a new meaning to an expression (or a meaning to a new expression); the expression defined (definiendum) may either be a new expression that is being introduced into the language for the first time, or an expression that is already current.

Oxford Reference Dictionary

n. 1 a the act or process of defining. b a statement of the meaning of a word or the nature of a thing. 2 a the degree of distinctness in outline of an object or image (esp. of an image produced by a lens or shown in a photograph or on a cinema or television screen). b making or being distinct in outline. Etymology: ME f. OF f. L definitio (as DEFINE)

Webster's 1913 Dictionary

Definition Def`i*ni"tion, n. [L. definitio: cf. F. d['e]finition.] 1. The act of defining; determination of the limits; as, a telescope accurate in definition. 2. Act of ascertaining and explaining the signification; a description of a thing by its properties; an explanation of the meaning of a word or term; as, the definition of ``circle;'' the definition of ``wit;'' an exact definition; a loose definition. Definition being nothing but making another understand by words what the term defined stands for. --Locke. 3. Description; sort. [R.] ``A new creature of another definition.'' --Jer. Taylor. 4. (Logic) An exact enunciation of the constituents which make up the logical essence. 5. (Opt.) Distinctness or clearness, as of an image formed by an optical instrument; precision in detail. Syn: Definition, Explanation, Description. Usage: A definition is designed to settle a thing in its compass and extent; an explanation is intended to remove some obscurity or misunderstanding, and is therefore more extended and minute; a description enters into striking particulars with a view to interest or impress by graphic effect. It is not therefore true, though often said, that description is only an extended definition. ``Logicians distinguish definitions into essential and accidental. An essential definition states what are regarded as the constituent parts of the essence of that which is to be defined; and an accidental definition lays down what are regarded as circumstances belonging to it, viz., properties or accidents, such as causes, effects, etc.'' --Whately.

Collin's Cobuild Dictionary

(definitions) Frequency: The word is one of the 3000 most common words in English. 1. A definition is a statement giving the meaning of a word or expression, especially in a dictionary. There is no general agreement on a standard definition of intelligence... N-COUNT: oft N of n If you say that something has a particular quality by definition, you mean that it has this quality simply because of what it is. Human perception is highly imperfect and by definition subjective. PHRASE: PHR with cl 2. Definition is the quality of being clear and distinct. The speakers criticised his new programme for lack of definition.

Soule's Dictionary of English Synonyms

n. 1. Explanation (of the meaning), exact meaning. 2. Description (by a statement of characteristic properties). 3. Defining, exact statement of the meaning.

Moby Thesaurus

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