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.

Read more about Definition:  Intension and Extension, Definition By Genus and Differentia, Recursive Definitions, Working Definitions, Limitations of Definition, In Medicine

Other articles related to "definition, definitions":

ESPN - High Definition
... ESPN launched its 720p high-definition simulcast, originally branded as ESPNHD, on March 20, 2001 ... Live studio shows, along with most live events on ESPN, use high definition ... Footage from non-HD sources is presented in a standard definition, 43 format with stylized pillarboxes ...
Sustainable Development - Definition
... included what is now one of the most widely recognised definitions "Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising 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 ...
Pashtun People - Pashtuns Defined
... These three definitions may be described as the ethno-linguistic definition, the religious-cultural definition, and the patrilineal definition, respectively ...
Definition - In Medicine
... In medical dictionaries, definitions should to the greatest extent possible be simple and easy to understand, preferably even by the general public useful clinically or in ...
Definition of Dietary Fiber
... 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 ...

Famous quotes containing the word definition:

    ... we all know the wag’s definition of a philanthropist: a man whose charity increases directly as the square of the distance.
    George Eliot [Mary Ann (or Marian)

    No man, not even a doctor, ever gives any other definition of what a nurse should be than this—”devoted and obedient.” This definition would do just as well for a porter. It might even do for a horse. It would not do for a policeman.
    Florence Nightingale (1820–1910)

    Although there is no universal agreement as to a definition of life, its biological manifestations are generally considered to be organization, metabolism, growth, irritability, adaptation, and reproduction.
    The Columbia Encyclopedia, Fifth Edition, the first sentence of the article on “life” (based on wording in the First Edition, 1935)