Define vs. Describe

By Jaxson

• Define

A definition is a statement of the meaning of a term (a word, phrase, or other set of symbols). Definitions can be classified into two large categories, intensional definitions (which try to give the essence of a term) and extensional definitions (which proceed by listing the objects that a term describes). Another important category of definitions is the class of ostensive definitions, which convey the meaning of a term by pointing out examples. A term may have many different senses and multiple meanings, and thus require multiple definitions.In mathematics, a definition is used to give a precise meaning to a new term, instead of describing a pre-existing term. Definitions and axioms are the basis on which all of modern mathematics is constructed.

Wikipedia
• Define (verb)

To determine with precision; to mark out with distinctness; to ascertain or exhibit clearly.

“the defining power of an optical instrument”

• Define (verb)

To settle, decide an argument etc. 16th-17th c.

• Define (verb)

To express the essential nature of something.

“I define myself as a techno-anarchist.”

• Define (verb)

To state the meaning of a word, phrase, sign, or symbol.

“The textbook defined speed as velocity divided by time.”

• Define (verb)

To describe, explain, or make definite and clear.

• Define (verb)

To demark sharply the outlines or limits of an area or concept.

“to define the legal boundaries of a property”

• Define (verb)

To establish the referent of a term or notation.

• Define (noun)

A kind of macro in source code that replaces one text string with another wherever it occurs.

• Describe (verb)

To represent in words.

“The feeling is difficult to describe, but not unpleasant.”

“The geographer describes countries and cities.”

• Describe (verb)

To represent by drawing; to draw a plan of; to delineate; to trace or mark out.

“to describe a circle by the compasses;”

“a torch waved about the head in such a way as to describe a circle”

• Describe (verb)

To give rise to a geometrical structure.

“The function describes a very complex surface.”

• Describe (verb)

To introduce a new taxon to science by explaining its characteristics and particularly how it differs from other taxa.

“The fungus was first described by a botanist.”

• Describe (verb)

To distribute into parts, groups, or classes; to mark off; to class.

Wiktionary
• Define (verb)

state or describe exactly the nature, scope, or meaning of

“the contract will seek to define the client’s obligations”

• Define (verb)

give the meaning of (a word or phrase), especially in a dictionary

“the dictionary defines it as ‘a type of pasture’”

• Define (verb)

make up or establish the character or essence of

“for some, the football club defines their identity”

• Define (verb)

mark out the boundary or limits of

“the river defines the park’s boundary”

• Define (verb)

make clear the outline of; delineate

“she defined her eyes by applying eyeshadow to her eyelids”

Oxford Dictionary