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Wordnet 3.0

VERB (5)

1. determine the essential quality of;
[syn: specify, define, delineate, delimit, delimitate]

2. give a definition for the meaning of a word;
- Example: "Define `sadness'"

3. determine the nature of;
- Example: "What defines a good wine?"

4. show the form or outline of;
- Example: "The tree was clearly defined by the light"
- Example: "The camera could define the smallest object"
[syn: define, delineate]

5. decide upon or fix definitely;
- Example: "fix the variables"
- Example: "specify the parameters"
[syn: specify, set, determine, define, fix, limit]


The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:

Define \De*fine"\, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Defined; p. pr. & vb. n. Defining.] [OE. definer, usually, to end, to finish, F. d['e]finir to define, L. definire to limit, define; de- + finire to limit, end, finis boundary, limit, end. See Final, Finish.] 1. To fix the bounds of; to bring to a termination; to end. "To define controversies." --Barrow. [1913 Webster] 2. To determine or clearly exhibit the boundaries of; to mark the limits of; as, to define the extent of a kingdom or country. [1913 Webster] 3. To determine with precision; to mark out with distinctness; to ascertain or exhibit clearly; as, the defining power of an optical instrument. [1913 Webster] Rings . . . very distinct and well defined. --Sir I. Newton. [1913 Webster] 4. To determine the precise signification of; to fix the meaning of; to describe accurately; to explain; to expound or interpret; as, to define a word, a phrase, or a scientific term. [1913 Webster] They define virtue to be life ordered according to nature. --Robynson (More's Utopia). [1913 Webster]
The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:

Define \De*fine"\, v. i. To determine; to decide. [Obs.] [1913 Webster]
WordNet (r) 3.0 (2006):

define v 1: determine the essential quality of [syn: specify, define, delineate, delimit, delimitate] 2: give a definition for the meaning of a word; "Define `sadness'" 3: determine the nature of; "What defines a good wine?" 4: show the form or outline of; "The tree was clearly defined by the light"; "The camera could define the smallest object" [syn: define, delineate] 5: decide upon or fix definitely; "fix the variables"; "specify the parameters" [syn: specify, set, determine, define, fix, limit]
Moby Thesaurus II by Grady Ward, 1.0:

159 Moby Thesaurus words for "define": assign, baptize, be characteristic, bed, blaze, blaze a trail, blemish, blotch, bound, brand, call, chalk, chalk up, characterize, check, check off, christen, cicatrize, circle in, circumscribe, clarify, confirm, construe, dapple, dash, deep-dye, delimit, delimitate, delineate, demarcate, denominate, describe, designate, detail, determine, diagnose, differentiate, discolor, distinguish, dot, dub, earmark, edge, embed, enclose, engraft, engrave, entitle, entrench, establish, etch, explain, expound, fix, fleck, found, freckle, gash, ground, hatch, hem, identify, impact, implant, impress, imprint, infix, ingrain, inscribe, interpret, jam, keynote, label, lay down, lay off, limit, line, lodge, make a mark, margin, mark, mark boundaries, mark off, mark out, mark the periphery, mottle, name, nick, nickname, nominate, notch, outline, pack, pencil, pepper, plant, point, prick, print, punch, punctuate, puncture, read, read into, riddle, rim, root, rope off, scar, scarify, score, scotch, scratch, seal, seam, seat, set, set apart, set down, set in, set the limit, set the pace, set the tone, settle, skirt, sound the keynote, specify, speck, speckle, spell out, splotch, spot, stain, stake out, stamp, state, stereotype, stigmatize, streak, striate, stripe, style, surround, tag, take, take it that, take to mean, tattoo, term, tick, tick off, title, trace, underline, underscore, understand, understand by, verge, wedge