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defining

[dih-fahy-ning] /dɪˈfaɪ nɪŋ/
adjective
1.
decisive; critically important:
Taking a course in architecture was a defining turn in her life.
Related forms
nondefining, adjective
self-defining, adjective

define

[dih-fahyn] /dɪˈfaɪn/
verb (used with object), defined, defining.
1.
to state or set forth the meaning of (a word, phrase, etc.): They disagreed on how to define “liberal.”.
2.
to explain or identify the nature or essential qualities of; describe:
to define judicial functions.
3.
to fix or lay down clearly and definitely; specify distinctly:
to define one's responsibilities.
4.
to determine or fix the boundaries or extent of:
to define property with stakes.
5.
to make clear the outline or form of:
The roof was boldly defined against the sky.
verb (used without object), defined, defining.
6.
to set forth the meaning of a word, phrase, etc.; construct a definition.
Origin
1325-1375
1325-75; Middle English def(f)inen < Anglo-French, Old French definer to put an end to < Latin dēfīnīre to limit, define, equivalent to dē- de- + fīnīre; see finish
Related forms
definable, adjective
definability, noun
definably, adverb
definement, noun
definer, noun
misdefine, verb (used with object), misdefined, misdefining.
nondefinability, noun
nondefinable, adjective
nondefinably, adverb
nondefined, adjective
nondefiner, noun
predefine, verb (used with object), predefined, predefining.
redefine, verb (used with object), redefined, redefining.
self-defined, adjective
semidefined, adjective
undefinable, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for defining
  • The simple wraps were one of the defining foods of my childhood.
  • Used between independent clauses, it indicates only that a relation exists between them without defining that relation.
  • The chair is novel if no other patent mentions each of its defining aspects: having four legs and a swivel function.
  • Yet its defining feature remains its breathtaking setting.
  • One way of defining modern art, or anything really, is describing what it is not.
  • It had some of the defining characteristics of a human being.
  • Watching the speech today shows how sophisticated politicians have become at defining an image.
  • Hair is a defining feature of mammals, as feathers are to birds.
  • But defining recovery in a place so deeply altered is a complicated proposition.
  • From my recollection the ability to breed is the primary and defining characteristic of a breed.
British Dictionary definitions for defining

define

/dɪˈfaɪn/
verb (transitive)
1.
to state precisely the meaning of (words, terms, etc)
2.
to describe the nature, properties, or essential qualities of
3.
to determine the boundary or extent of
4.
(often passive) to delineate the form or outline of: the shape of the tree was clearly defined by the light behind it
5.
to fix with precision; specify
Derived Forms
definable, adjective
definability, noun
definably, adverb
definer, noun
Word Origin
C14: from Old French definer to determine, from Latin dēfīnīre to set bounds to, from fīnīre to finish
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 defining

define

v.

late 14c., "to specify; to end," from Old French defenir "to end, terminate, determine," and directly from Latin definire "to limit, determine, explain," from de- "completely" (see de-) + finire "to bound, limit," from finis "boundary, end" (see finish (n.)). Related: Defined; defining.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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