from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To decide or settle (a dispute, for example) conclusively and authoritatively.
  • transitive v. To end or decide, as by judicial action.
  • transitive v. To establish or ascertain definitely, as after consideration, investigation, or calculation. See Synonyms at discover.
  • transitive v. To cause (someone) to come to a conclusion or resolution.
  • transitive v. To be the cause of; regulate: Demand determines production.
  • transitive v. To give direction to: The management committee determines departmental policy.
  • transitive v. To limit in scope or extent.
  • transitive v. Mathematics To fix or define the position, form, or configuration of.
  • transitive v. Logic To explain or limit by adding differences.
  • transitive v. Law To put an end to; terminate.
  • intransitive v. To reach a decision; resolve. See Synonyms at decide.
  • intransitive v. Law To come to an end.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To set the limits of.
  • v. To ascertain definitely; to figure out.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • intransitive v. To come to an end; to end; to terminate.
  • intransitive v. To come to a decision; to decide; to resolve; -- often with on.
  • transitive v. To fix the boundaries of; to mark off and separate.
  • transitive v. To set bounds to; to fix the determination of; to limit; to bound; to bring to an end; to finish.
  • transitive v. To fix the form or character of; to shape; to prescribe imperatively; to regulate; to settle.
  • transitive v. To fix the course of; to impel and direct; -- with a remoter object preceded by to.
  • transitive v. To ascertain definitely; to find out the specific character or name of; to assign to its true place in a system.
  • transitive v. To bring to a conclusion, as a question or controversy; to settle authoritative or judicial sentence; to decide.
  • transitive v. To resolve on; to have a fixed intention of; also, to cause to come to a conclusion or decision; to lead.
  • transitive v. To define or limit by adding a differentia.
  • transitive v. To ascertain the presence, quantity, or amount of

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To fix the bounds of; mark off; settle; fix; establish.
  • To limit in space or extent; form the limits of; bound; shut in: as, yonder hill determines our view.
  • To ascertain or state definitely; make out; find out; settle; decide upon, as after consideration or investigation: as, to determine the species of an animal or a plant; to determine the height of a mountain, or the quantity of nitrogen in the atmosphere.
  • In logic, to explain or limit by adding differences.
  • To bring to a conclusion; put an end to; end.
  • Specifically—6. To find, as the solution of a problem; end, as a dispute, by judicial or other final decision: as, the court determined the cause.
  • To fix or settle definitely; make specific or certain; decide the state or character of.
  • To come to a definite intention in respect of; resolve on; decide: as, he determined to remain.
  • To give direction or tendency to; decide the course of: as, impulse may determine a moving body to this or that point.
  • To influence the choice of; cause to come to a conclusion or resolution: as, this circumstance determined him to the study of law.
  • Synonyms To limit.
  • To ascertain, find out.
  • To decide, conclude.
  • To induce, influence, lead.
  • To come to a decision or resolution; settle definitively on some line of conduct.
  • To come to a close; end; terminate.
  • To come to a determinate end in time; reach a fixed or definite limit; cease to exist or to be in force.
  • In Oxford and other universities, to take part in a solemn disputation preparatory to graduation as master of arts. See determination, 12.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. fix conclusively or authoritatively
  • v. find out, learn, or determine with certainty, usually by making an inquiry or other effort
  • v. fix in scope; fix the boundaries of
  • v. reach, make, or come to a decision about something
  • v. settle conclusively; come to terms
  • v. establish after a calculation, investigation, experiment, survey, or study
  • v. shape or influence; give direction to
  • v. decide upon or fix definitely


Middle English determinen, from Old French determiner, from Latin dētermināre, to limit : dē-, de- + terminus, boundary.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English determinen, from Old French determiner, French déterminer, from Latin determinare ("to bound, limit, prescribe, fix, determine"), from de + terminare ("to limit"), from terminus ("bound, limit, end"). (Wiktionary)



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