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[klas-uh-fahy] /ˈklæs əˌfaɪ/
verb (used with object), classified, classifying.
to arrange or organize by classes; order according to class.
to assign a classification to (information, a document, etc.).
Compare classification (def 5).
to limit the availability of (information, a document, etc.) to authorized persons.
Origin of classify
1790-1800; < Latin classi(s) class + -fy
Related forms
classifiable, adjective
misclassify, verb (used with object), misclassified, misclassifying.
nonclassifiable, adjective
overclassify, verb (used with object), overclassified, overclassifying.
preclassify, verb (used with object), preclassified, preclassifying.
unclassifiable, adjective
unclassifiableness, noun
unclassifiably, adverb
unclassifying, adjective
1. class, rank, rate, categorize, group. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for classify
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The lady principal of a school here teaches us all about shells and alg, or sea-plants, and we learn to name and classify them.

  • She was moved by some emotion, but he was unable, for the moment, to classify it.

    The Avenger E. Phillips Oppenheim
  • You might as well say there are no facts; for principles are merely formulas which classify such facts as are well established.

    Economic Sophisms Frederic Bastiat
  • "Oh, if you like, I will classify all our acquaintances for you," replied Claude.

  • As Peter Winn's secretary it was his task to weed out, sort, and classify his employer's mail.

    The Night-Born Jack London
British Dictionary definitions for classify


verb (transitive) -fies, -fying, -fied
to arrange or order by classes; categorize
(government) to declare (information, documents, etc) of possible aid to an enemy and therefore not available to people outside a restricted group
Derived Forms
classifiable, adjective
classifier, noun
Word Origin
C18: back formation from classification
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for classify

1782, from French classifier, from classe (see class (n.)) + -fier (see -fy). Related: Classified; classifying.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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