De·fine v. t. [imp. & p. p. Defined p. pr. & vb. n. Defining.]
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).
n : any process serving to define the shape of something [syn: shaping]