A definition is a statement that explains the meaning of a term (a word, phrase, or other set of symbols). The term to be defined is the definiendum. A term may have many different senses or meanings. For each such specific sense, a definiens is a cluster of words that defines that term with reference to the speaker's immediate intended meaning.
For example, in formal languages like mathematics, a "stipulative" definition guides a specific discussion. A stipulative definition can only be disproved by showing a logical contradiction. But a "descriptive" definition can be shown to be "right" or "wrong" with reference to general usage.
A chief difficulty in the management of definitions is the necessity of using other terms that are already understood or whose definitions are easily obtainable. The use of the term in a simple example may suffice. A dictionary definition typically contains additional details, such an etymology, obsolete meanings, and the language or languages of its origin.
A precising definition extends the descriptive dictionary definition (lexical definition) of a term for a specific purpose by including additional criteria, which narrow the set of things that meet the definition.
C.L. Stevenson has identified persuasive definition as a form of stipulative definition which purports to state the "true" or "commonly accepted" meaning of a term, while in reality stipulating an altered use (perhaps as an argument for some specific belief). Stevenson has also noted that some definitions are "legal" or "coercive" — their object is to create or alter rights, duties, or crimes.
Other articles related to "definition, definitions":
... In medical dictionaries, definitions should to the greatest extent possible be simple and easy to understand, preferably even by the general public useful ...
... ESPN launched its 720p high-definition simulcast, originally branded as ESPNHD, on March 20, 2001 ... Footage from non-HD sources is presented in a standard definition, 43 format with stylized pillarboxes ... began to downplay its distinct promotion logo in preparation for a shift of its standard definition-feed to letterboxed widescreen, which occurred on June 1 ...
... These three definitions may be described as the ethno-linguistic definition, the religious-cultural definition, and the patrilineal definition, respectively ...
... fiber was defined to be the components of plants that resist human digestive enzymes, a definition that includes lignin and polysaccharides ... The definition was later changed to also include resistant starches, along with inulin and other oligosaccharides ... Official definition of dietary fiber differs a little among different institutions Organization (reference) Definition Institute of Medicine Dietary fiber consists of nondigestible ...
... Report, which included what is now one of the most widely recognised definitions "Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the ... It offers an integrated vision and definition of strong sustainability ... It generates a more nuanced definition of sustainable development “the need to ensure a better quality of life for all, now and into the future, in a just and equitable manner, whilst ...
Famous quotes containing the word definition:
“Mothers often are too easily intimidated by their childrens negative reactions...When the child cries or is unhappy, the mother reads this as meaning that she is a failure. This is why it is so important for a mother to know...that the process of growing up involves by definition things that her child is not going to like. Her job is not to create a bed of roses, but to help him learn how to pick his way through the thorns.”
—Elaine Heffner (20th century)
“Was man made stupid to see his own stupidity?
Is God by definition indifferent, beyond us all?
Is the eternal truth mans fighting soul
Wherein the Beast ravens in its own avidity?”
—Richard Eberhart (b. 1904)
“Perhaps the best definition of progress would be the continuing efforts of men and women to narrow the gap between the convenience of the powers that be and the unwritten charter.”
—Nadine Gordimer (b. 1923)