“Define” Synonym Guide — Definition, Antonyms, and Examples

A synonym is a word that has the same or…

A synonym is a word that has the same or nearly the same meaning as another. More than a dictionary, a thesaurus is a guide to synonyms. What’s a synonym for define?

This article provides a list of words with an approximate meaning to the word ‘define.’ Utilizing these words in writing will help you communicate your thoughts without using one word repeatedly.

Define: Etymology and Definition

The word ‘define’ originates from Middle English definen, Old French definer, and Latin dēfīniō (“limit, settle, define”).

The dictionary meaning for define is “to state the meaning of a word, phrase, sign, or symbol.” When you define something, you describe, explain, or make it definite and clear.

Define means “to determine with precision; to mark out with distinctness; to ascertain or exhibit clearly.” e.g., the defining power of a microscope. ‘Define’ also means “to express the essential nature of something.” e.g., past mistakes do not define a person.

The term ‘define’ functions grammatically as a verb. It takes the following forms; simple present – defines, present participle – defining, past participle – defined.

  • “Was the outreach successful?’ ‘Define successful – if you mean to ask if we achieved our aim, then yes.
  • We need to define the dimensions of this land clearly.
  • I define myself as a professional footballer.
  • How do you define what just happened?
  • Please define what you want to achieve with this campaign.
  • Define the term’ performance.’

Synonym for Define — Exploring Words with Similar Meanings

A popular synonym for define is ‘specify.’ Others include determine, clarify, designate, denote, elucidate, interpret, explain, trace, characterize and outline.

1. Specify

Define’ originates from Middle English specifien, Old French specifier, especefier, or from Medieval Latin specificō, specificus (“specific”). Specify means “to state explicitly, or in detail, or as a condition.”

  • Johnson didn’t specify which project he wanted me to work on.
  • Kindly specify the information you need.

2. Clarify

Clarify is from Middle English clarifien, Old French clarifiier, Latin clārificō, clārificāre; clārus (“clear”) + faciō, facere (“make”). Semantically clear +‎ -ify. When you clarify something you make it clear and understandable.

  • We need to clarify this matter.
  • Could you clarify your statement, please? I don’t understand what you mean.

3. Denote

The term ‘denote’ is from Middle French denoter, from Latin denotare, from de- (“complete”), and notare (“to mark out”). Denote means “to indicate; to mark.”

  • We use bold characters to denote headings in writing.
  • Red letters denote danger.

4. Determine

Determine originates from Middle English determinen, Old French determiner, French déterminer and from Latin determināre (“to bound, limit, prescribe, fix, determine”). Determine means “to confirm definitively; to determine, find out, or conclude by analyzing, calculating, or investigating.”

  • The principal is still trying to determine the reason for the students’ demonstration.
  • The police is set out to determine what transpired at the event.

5. Outline

Outline’ is from out +‎ line. To outline means to summarize or briefly describe a subject.

  • Outline your points before writing your essay.
  • The secretary outlined the minutes of the meeting.

Antonyms for Define — Exploring Words with Opposite Meanings

1. Confuse

Confuse‘ is from Middle English confused (“frustrated, ruined”), Anglo-Norman confus, Latin confusus, past participle of confundō. Confuse means “to mix thoroughly; to confound; to disorder.”

  • People tend to confuse my sister and me; we look so alike.
  • You’ll only confuse the issue further with your arguments.

2. Hesitate

Hesitate’ originates from Latin haesitatus, the past participle of haesitare, (“to hesitate, stick fast; to hang or hold fast”). Hesitate means “to stop or pause an action; to be in suspense or uncertainty as to a determination.” It also means “to stammer; to falter in speaking.

  • If you need help, don’t hesitate to ask.
  • Most often, I hesitate to say what is on my mind.

3. Hide

Hide originates from Middle English hiden, Old English hȳdan (“to conceal”), and Proto-West Germanic *hūdijan.

  • Michelle tried to hide her excitement.
  • You wanted to hide the truth from me, but thank goodness I found out.
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To Wrap Up

Synonyms are words that have the same meaning as another word. They help create variety in writing while simultaneously being distinct enough to interpret the definition of a word differently.

A common synonym for define is “specify.” Others include determine, clarify, designate and denote. You can utilize these words to make your writing more unique and intriguing.

“Define” Synonym Guide — Definition, Antonyms, and Examples

Pam is an expert grammarian with years of experience teaching English, writing and ESL Grammar courses at the university level. She is enamored with all things language and fascinated with how we use words to shape our world.

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