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.

  • 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.

  • 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

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