From Biology-Online Dictionary | Biology-Online Dictionary


1. To fix the bounds of; to bring to a termination; to end. To define controversies.

2. To determine or clearly exhibit the boundaries of; to mark the limits of; as, to define the extent of a kingdom or country.

3. To determine with precision; to mark out with distinctness; to ascertain or exhibit clearly; as, the defining power of an optical instrument. Rings . . . Very distinct and well defined. (Sir i. Newton)

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. They define virtue to be life ordered according to nature. (Robynson (mores Utopia))

Origin: oe. Definer, usually, to end, to finish, f. Definir to define, L. Definire to limit, define; de- _ finire to limit, end, finis boundary, limit, end. See Final, finish.