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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 undefinable
  • Infinity is not a number, it is a describable but an undefinable concept.
  • What they are after is elegance-a quality, undefinable in terms of logic, that is quite distinct from allure.
  • The idea that anyone can chart out a graph when its ends are undefinable is silly.
  • Still, she exudes a misty, undefinable star quality: there's something edgy yet enigmatic in both her appearance and her manner.
  • When you make multi-millions from your public posture as a salesman and spokesperson, you lose the right to undefinable privacy.
  • But all have enjoyed the experience and all have been changed in wonderful, if undefinable, ways.
  • Some consumer groups, however, characterize the possible outcomes from consuming biotech food as undefinable but catastrophic.
  • Its exact boundaries are undefinable, and its content varies according to specific factual contexts.
  • Thus, exposure to this undefinable group is irrelevant as no one is at risk.
  • The gold will some times favor the slate, sometimes the talc, and often the undefinable stuff.
British Dictionary definitions for undefinable

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 undefinable

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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