Geometry. the middle point, as the point within a circle or sphere equally distant from all points of the circumference or surface, or the point within a regular polygon equally distant from the vertices.
a point, pivot, axis, etc., around which anything rotates or revolves: The sun is the center of the solar system.
the source of an influence, action, force, etc.: the center of a problem.
a point, place, person, etc., upon which interest, emotion, etc., focuses: His family is the center of his life.
a principal point, place, or object: a shipping center.
a building or part of a building used as a meeting place for a particular group or having facilities for certain activities: a youth center; The company has a complete recreation center in the basement.
an office or other facility providing a specific service or dealing with a particular emergency: a flood-relief center; a crisis center.
a person, thing, group, etc., occupying the middle position, especially a body of troops.
the core or middle of anything: chocolate candies with fruit centers.
a store or establishment devoted to a particular subject or hobby, carrying supplies, materials, tools, and books as well as offering guidance and advice: a garden center; a nutrition center.
the part of a legislative assembly, especially in continental Europe, that sits in the center of the chamber, a position customarily assigned to members of the legislature who hold political views intermediate between those of the Right and Left.
the members of such an assembly who sit in the Center.
the political position of persons who hold moderate views.
politically moderate persons, taken collectively; Centrists; middle-of-the-roaders: Unfortunately, his homeland has always lacked a responsible Center.
a lineman who occupies a position in the middle of the line and who puts the ball into play by tossing it between his legs to a back.
to pass (a basketball, hockey puck, etc.) from any place along the periphery toward the middle of the playing area.
verb (used without object)
to be at or come to a center.
to come to a focus; converge; concentrate (followed by at, about, around, in, or on ): The interest of the book centers specifically on the character of the eccentric hero. Political power in the town centers in the position of mayor.
to gather or accumulate in a cluster; collect (followed by at, about, around, in, or on ): Shops and municipal buildings center around the city square.
on center, from the centerline or midpoint of a structural member, an area of a plan, etc., to that of a similar member, area, etc.: The studs are set 30 inches on center.Abbreviation: o.c.
Usage note 29. Although sometimes condemned for alleged illogicality, the phrases center about and center around have appeared in edited writing for more than a century to express the sense of gathering or collecting as if around a center: The objections center around the question of fiscal responsibility.
late 14c., from O.Fr. centre, from L. centrum "center," orig. fixed point of the two points of a compass, from Gk. kentron "sharp point, goad," from kentein "stitch," from PIE base *kent- "to prick" (cf. Breton kentr "a spur," O.H.G. hantag "sharp, pointed"). The verb is from 1620s. Spelling with -re
popularized in Britain by Johnson's dictionary, though -er is older. Center of gravity is recorded from 1650s.