Definition of definition in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˌdefəˈniSH(ə)n/


1A statement of the exact meaning of a word, especially in a dictionary.
Example sentences
  • The Judge said she had, in the absence of any statutory definition, consulted several dictionaries for a definition of the word record.
  • No, it's not exactly the dictionary definition of the word.
  • The dictionary definition of the word is to ride on or along a wave on a board.
1.1An exact statement or description of the nature, scope, or meaning of something: our definition of what constitutes poetry
More example sentences
  • One widely accepted definition describes poverty as ‘an enforced lack of socially perceived necessities’.
  • Most definitions of the scheme describe it as operating alongside criminal action.
  • I'm struck how in the introductory sections, Publius returns again and again to a definition of ‘human nature.’
interpretation, explanation, elucidation, description, clarification, illustration
1.2The action or process of defining something.
Example sentences
  • In all these examples we can see that whether a particular act is judged to be a crime or to be deviant is not explained by any quality of the act itself but by other considerations that enter into the process of labelling or definition.
  • It is equally important that our community have safe space in which to engage in that process of definition.
  • In the introduction, Lauret confronts the thorny questions of definition and categorization.
2The degree of distinctness in outline of an object, image, or sound, especially of an image in a photograph or on a screen.
Example sentences
  • They have great resolution and incredible colour definition.
  • The anamorphic widescreen transfer is decent enough, with reasonable clarity and picture definition, though graininess can a problem now and again.
  • By looking at the graph and seeing the colors and shapes, these students were able to listen again and hear the shape of the sounds with more definition.
resolution, focus, contrast
2.1The capacity of an instrument or device for making images distinct in outline: we’ve been pleased with the definition of this TV
More example sentences
  • I own a 60" DLP, and the TV's definition is great.
  • The TV's definition is great, you just have to be 20+ feet away from it, because it has the same number of pixels in it as a 1080p 46".
  • This television has excellent definition which makes the image jump right at you.


by definition

By its very nature; intrinsically: underachievement, by definition, is not due to lack of talent
More example sentences
  • And lest we forget, Saints, by definition, have the means to perform miracles in times of need.
  • A fully biological account of the human has to be deterministic, by definition.
  • Violence, by definition, signals the loss, lapse and negation of a spiritual way of being.



Pronunciation: /-SHənl/
Example sentences
  • Rates of self-harm and attempted suicide are difficult to compare internationally because of the definitional and reporting problems outlined in the earlier section on this topic.
  • If one accepts this definitional framework, then the moral equivalency argument sounds plausible.
  • However, it serves to indicate the nature of the definitional problem.


Pronunciation: /-SHənl-ē/
Example sentences
  • On any objective view, ‘crime’ has to be seen as a non-natural category of behaviour, crucially definitionally dependent on the censuring processes of a given society.
  • For example, area would definitionally be related to length and width.
  • Economies of scale or scope are expressed, definitionally, in the context of changes in total cost.


Late Middle English: from Latin definitio(n-), from the verb definire 'set bounds to' (see define).

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: def·i·ni·tion

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