Definition of center in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈsen(t)ər/
(British centre)


1The middle point of a circle or sphere, equidistant from every point on the circumference or surface.
Example sentences
  • She was so angered by this thought that she had changed forms and was halfway to the center of the circle before she realized what she was doing.
  • She pushes it and the apple moves around her head as she stands still in the center of the circle created by its movement.
  • The center of the circle or sphere is the position of the n-mer.
1.1A point or part that is equally distant from all sides, ends, or surfaces of something; the middle: the center of the ceiling the center of a vast territory
More example sentences
  • When touring the blues clubs of Chicago, it is best to stay around the centre and the north side of the city.
  • The zippers are in the under surface at the centre and near to each cross boom end for inspection purposes.
  • The peak in the center of this surface represented the large estimate of genetic variance in the E3 environment.
middle, nucleus, heart, core, hub;
middle point, midpoint, halfway point, mean, median
1.2A pivot or axis of rotation: the galactic rotation of the solar system around the galactic center
More example sentences
  • A passenger rides in one of seven cars, each mounted near the edge of its own circular platform but free to pivot about the center.
  • The effect of the torque depends on where, between the center of rotation and the outermost point, the initial force is applied.
  • The centres of rotation of these semicircular flows travel down the body.
1.3A political party or group holding moderate opinions.
Example sentences
  • The first round of the French presidential election showed the extent of the collapse of the centre parties.
  • Several people wrote to suggest that the Democrats actually are the center party these days, and there's a lot of truth in that.
  • Although Kinnock began on the left, he took the Labour Party into the political centre.
1.4(In many sports) the middle player in a line or group: many coaches instruct their center to charge viciously on all plays
More example sentences
  • Only two players - centers Erick Dampier and Adonal Foyle - have been with the team longer than Richardson and power forward Troy Murphy.
  • Two centers earned NBA Players of the Week awards for their performance last week.
  • Although the offensive line is without a center, it still is a formidable group.
1.5 Basketball The player who is positioned near the basket and is typically tallest on the team: only 10 centers averaged more than 10 points per game last year
1.6 Baseball short for center field. he flied out to center
1.7A core, such as the filling in a piece of chocolate: truffles with liqueur centers
More example sentences
  • A chocolate bar unfortunately unavailable in the US, milk chocolate with little caramel centres.
  • Flatten each ball, put one part of filling in the centre and cover it to make an oval ball.
  • In the confectionery industry today, fruit pastes appear to have been reduced to a minor role as centres for fondant, chocolates, and dragées.
1.8A conical adjustable support for a workpiece in a lathe or similar machine.
Example sentences
  • The primary use of a center in metalworking is to ensure concentric work is produced, this allows the workpiece to be transferred between operations without any loss of accuracy.
  • A center is also used to support longer work pieces where the cutting forces would deflect the work excessively, reducing the finish and accuracy of the workpiece, or creating a hazardous situation.
  • The term between centers refers to any machining operation where the job needs to be performed using centers.
2The point from which an activity or process is directed, or on which it is focused: the city was a center of discontent two issues at the center of the health-care debate
More example sentences
  • Times Square, normally a centre of frenetic activity, was deserted.
  • Coventry developed from a significant centre of production to a centre of motor car activity by the beginning of the First World War.
  • Warsaw, which fell to Russia, became a centre of ballet activity.
2.1The most important place in the respect specified: Geneva was then the center of the international world
More example sentences
  • Scotland is the centre of international attention more than at any time since it hosted the Commonwealth Games 20 years ago.
  • As a result, new centres of power have surfaced.
  • The dark areas on the surface are eruption centres.
3A place or group of buildings where a specified activity is concentrated: a center for medical research a shopping center
More example sentences
  • The disused school building could be a centre for the community to meet and for visitors to gather.
  • It is envisaged as a fully accessible cultural building and a centre for excellence in innovation.
  • It will sell charity goods and film memorabilia, and will also double as an activity centre for terminally ill children.


1 [no object] (center around/on or center something around/on) Have or cause to have something as (a major concern or theme): the case centers around the couple’s adopted children the plot centers on two young men [with object]: he is centering his discussion on an analysis of patterns of mortality
More example sentences
  • His plan centers on increased support for renewable energy and for alternative motor fuels made from corn and soybeans.
  • The idea of a film project centring on her and her music seemed to make great sense.
  • Most of the discussions have centred around the future of the team and which players should be eligible to play for them.
focus, concentrate, pivot, hinge, revolve, be based
1.1 (be centered in) (Of an activity) occur mainly in or around (a specified place): the mercantile association was centered in northern Germany
More example sentences
  • A number of Jewish pressure groups, mainly centred in North America called for the book to be pulped.
  • It was actually formed by a number of scholars, mainly centred in Trinity College in Cambridge.
  • The cancer centre is centred in Sligo and cares for patients in the surrounding counties - Leitrim, Roscommon, Donegal, Mayo and West Cavan.
2 [with object] Place in the middle: to center the needle, turn the knob
More example sentences
  • Place the keg on the scale and tilt it on its edge centering it in the middle of the scale.
  • Center the nail in the nail slot and drive the nail straight in.
  • These pressure distributions apply a side force to the hammer piston which strives to center the hammer piston in the guide.
2.1 American Football Pass the ball back from the ground to another player to begin a down; snap.
Example sentences
  • Patrik Elias centered a pass back to Arnott for the goal in double-overtime that made New Jersey the champions for the second time in six years.
  • Most long snappers look straight ahead right before they center the ball.
  • They will pass or center the ball back and forth until a fair assessment has been made for each individual.


The construction center around (as opposed to center on, or revolve around) has been denounced as incorrect and illogical since it first appeared in the mid 19th century. Although the phrase is common, it defies geometry by confusing the orbit with the fixed point: the earth revolves around (or its revolution centers on) the sun. A careful writer will use a precise expression, such as centers on, revolves around, concerns, or involves.



Pronunciation: /-ˌmōst/
Example sentences
  • Well, I want to hear it, because the morality of this country is centermost in my mind.
  • But it's hidden in the centermost room - and if you complete my puzzles and find the shard, I'll set you free unconditionally.
  • We planted about five seeds per pot and thinned to the centermost individual after most seeds had germinated, but did not explicitly measure germination rates or subsequent mortality.


Late Middle English centre, from Old French, or from Latin centrum, from Greek kentron 'sharp point, stationary point of a pair of compasses', related to kentein 'to prick'.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: cen·ter

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