definition


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definition

noun clarification, decipherment, decoding, delimitation, delineation, demarcation, description, equivalent meaning, exact meaning, exact statement, explanation, explication, expressed meaning, formulation, identification, illumination, interpretation, making intelligible, meaning, representation, simplification, statement of meannng, synonym, translation
Foreign phrases: Omnis definitio in jure civili periculosa est, parum est enim ut non subverti possit.Every definiiion in the law is dangerous, because there is little that cannot be subverted.
See also: clarification, construction, description, explanation, identification, meaning, rendition, specification

DEFINITION. An enumeration of the principal ideas of which a compound idea is formed, to ascertain and explain its nature and character; or it is that which denotes and points out the substance of a thing, to us. Ayliffe's Pand. 59.
     2. A definition ought to contain every idea which belongs to the thing defined, and exclude all others.
     3. A definition should be, 1st. Universal, that is, such that it will apply equally to all individuals of, the same kind. 2d. Proper, that is, such that it will not apply to any other individual of any other kind. 3d. Clear, that is, without any equivocal, vague, or unknown word. 4th. Short, that is, without any useless word, or any foreign to the idea intended to be defined.
     4. Definitions are always dangerous, because it is always difficult to prevent their being inaccurate, or their becoming so; omnis definitio injure civili periculosa est, parum est enim, ut non subvertipossit.
     5. All ideas are not susceptible of definitions, and many words cannot be defined. This inability is frequently supplied, in a considerable degree, by descriptions. (q.v.)

References in classic literature ?
But the creatures set down above as Duodecimoes are infallibly whales, by the terms of my definition of what a whale is --i.
Hence it must happen that however accurately objects may be discriminated in themselves, and however accurately the discrimination may be considered, the definition of them may be rendered inaccurate by the inaccuracy of the terms in which it is delivered.
On the other hand, things are said to be named 'univocally' which have both the name and the definition answering to the name in common.
Wickham-- when she read with somewhat clearer attention a relation of events which, if true, must overthrow every cherished opinion of his worth, and which bore so alarming an affinity to his own history of himself-- her feelings were yet more acutely painful and more difficult of definition.
That is the only true definition of what married women's property really is.
Sir Walter Scott = British novelist and poet (1771-1832), often compared with Cooper--I have not located his definition of "vulgar"}
From land to land is the most concise definition of a ship's earthly fate.
What a change has come over our pulpits," Arthur remarked, "since the time when Paley gave that utterly selfish definition of virtue,
Babcock's moral malaise, I am afraid, lay deeper than where any definition of mine can reach it.
I thought suddenly of the definition he applied to himself: "Americain, catholique et gentil-homme" completed by that startling "I live by my sword" uttered in a light drawing-room tone tinged by a flavour of mockery lighter even than air.
They wore the cast-off graces of the gentry; - and this, I believe, involves the best definition of the class.
Any further definition of his merits must be unnecessary; the most charming young man in the world is instantly before the imagination of us all.