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 (More's 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.

(01 Mar 1998)

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