Definition of determine in English:

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Pronunciation: /dəˈtərmən/


[with object]
1Cause (something) to occur in a particular way; be the decisive factor in: it will be her mental attitude that determines her future
More example sentences
  • The discussion then is not necessarily limited to whether nature determines culture or whether nature is simply a cultural construction.
  • Because the danger exists that Bank of Ireland and AIB will now be snapped up as globalisation increasingly determines the future of the Irish economy.
  • Prior research has shown that both family and community attitudes are influential in determining the amount of involvement of youth in activities.
control, decide, regulate, direct, dictate, govern;
affect, influence, mold
deciding, decisive, conclusive, final, definitive, key, pivotal, crucial, critical, major, chief, prime
2Ascertain or establish exactly, typically as a result of research or calculation: officials are working with state police to determine the cause of a deadly bus crash [with clause]: the point of our study was to determine what is true, not what is practicable
More example sentences
  • We need additional research to determine what remediation methods are most appropriate for which kinds of student impairment.
  • Study results vary and some experts say more research is needed to determine what negative impacts DDT has on humans.
  • Presenters will also discuss the need for new service delivery systems and research to determine what works.
ascertain, find out, discover, learn, establish, calculate, work out, make out, deduce, diagnose, discern;
check, verify, confirm
informal figure out
2.1 Mathematics Specify the value, position, or form of (a mathematical or geometric object) uniquely.
Example sentences
  • Weil's work on polynomial equations led to questions on what properties of a geometric object can be determined purely algebraically.
  • Determine the geometric object represented by the equation and draw this object.
3 [no object] Firmly decide: he determined on a withdrawal of his forces [with infinitive]: she determined to tackle Stephen the next day
More example sentences
  • The thought of leading the cloistered life of a nun made her bitterly unhappy, and she determined to run away from the convent.
  • Lily had determined that she would not be sad.
  • For some reason, they determined on migrating to the eastward, and accordingly set out together in a body.
resolve, decide, make up one's mind, choose, elect, opt
formal purpose
4 Law , archaic Bring or come to an end.
Example sentences
  • That particular question must be determined against the appellant.
  • The wife requests that the matter of spousal support not be determined at this hearing.
  • This issue, as between Mr Rogers and Mrs Bailey, was not determined by the defendant.


Late Middle English: from Old French determiner, from Latin determinare 'limit, fix', from de- 'completely' + terminare 'terminate'.

Words that rhyme with determine

ermine, vermin

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: de·ter·mine

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