any particular extent of space or surface; part: the dark areas in the painting; the dusty area of the room.
a geographical region; tract: the Chicago area; the unsettled areas along the frontier.
any section reserved for a specific function: the business area of a town; the dining area of a house.
extent, range, or scope: inquiries that embrace the whole area of science.
field of study, or a branch of a field of study: Related areas of inquiry often reflect borrowed notions.
a piece of unoccupied ground; an open space.
the space or site on which a building stands; the yard attached to or surrounding a house.
British, areaway ( def 1 ).
the quantitative measure of a plane or curved surface; two-dimensional extent.
Anatomy. a zone of the cerebral cortex having a specific function: The damage to Broca's area affected his speech.

1530–40; < Latin ārea vacant piece of level ground, open space in a town, threshing floor; perhaps akin to ārēre to be dry. See arid

areal, adjective
areally, adverb

area, aria. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
area (ˈɛərɪə)
1.  any flat, curved, or irregular expanse of a surface
2.  a.  the extent of a two-dimensional surface enclosed within a specified boundary or geometric figure: the area of Ireland; the area of a triangle
 b.  the two-dimensional extent of the surface of a solid, or of some part thereof, esp one bounded by a closed curve: the area of a sphere
3.  a section, portion, or part: an area of the body; an area of the sky
4.  region; district; locality: a mountainous area
5.  a.  a geographical division of administrative responsibility
 b.  (as modifier): area manager
6.  a part or section, as of a building, town, etc, having some specified function or characteristic: reception area; commercial area; slum area
7.  Also called: areaway a sunken area, usually enclosed, giving light, air, and sometimes access to a cellar or basement
8.  the range, extent, or scope of anything
9.  a subject field or field of study
10.  any unoccupied or unused flat open piece of ground
11.  the ground on which a building stands, or the ground surrounding a building
12.  anatomy any of the various regions of the cerebral cortex
13.  computing any part of a computer memory assigned to store data of a specified type
[C16: from Latin: level ground, open space, threshing-floor; related to ārēre to be dry]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

1530s, "vacant piece of ground," from L. area "level ground, open space," of uncertain origin. Perhaps related to arere "to become dry," on notion of a burned clearing or dry, bare space. The generic sense of "amount of surface (whether open or not) contained within any set of limits" is from 1845. Area
code in N.Amer. telephone systems is attested from 1961.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

area ar·e·a (âr'ē-ə)
n. pl. ar·e·as or ar·e·ae (-ē-ē')

  1. A circumscribed surface or space.

  2. All of a part that is supplied by a given artery or nerve.

  3. A part of an organ having a special function.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
area   (âr'ē-ə)  Pronunciation Key 
The extent of a surface or plane figure as measured in square units.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases


see gray area.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Example sentences
The area of attachment of a cranial nerve to the surface of the brain is termed
  its superficial or apparent origin.
The first digitation is inserted into a triangular area on the ventral surface
  of the medial angle.
Makes sense because a smaller body means a bigger surface area to body volume
  and more efficient heat dumping.
Open up and flatten a chicken so more surface area can get a smoky char.
Idioms & Phrases
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