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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.)

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
References in periodicals archive ?
Table 7 compares the central banks' target definitions with their reporting requirements in primary legislation or formal frameworks.
Pre-tax return on average active equity was 19 per cent, versus three per cent, while per the firm's target definition, pre-tax return on average active equity was 20 per cent, versus negative four per cent.
Because both policymakers and the public care about output fluctuations, and the ultimate reason for price stability is to support a healthy real economy, an inflation-targeting regime may need escape clauses or some flexibility built into the target definition to deal with supply and other types of shocks.
How retailers arrive at a target definition can be better understood in terms of the process described in the previous section.