Def`i*ni"tion (?), n. [L.
definitio: cf. F. définition.]
1. The act of defining; determination of the
limits; as, a telescope accurate in definition.
2. Act of ascertaining and explaining the
signification; a description of a thing by its properties; an
explanation of the meaning of a word or term; as, the
definition of "circle;" the definition of "wit;" an
exact definition; a loose definition.
Definition being nothing but making another
understand by words what the term defined stands for.
3. Description; sort. [R.] "A new
creature of another definition." Jer. Taylor.
4. (Logic) An exact enunciation of the
constituents which make up the logical essence.
5. (Opt.) Distinctness or clearness,
as of an image formed by an optical instrument; precision in
Syn. -- Definition, Explanation,
Description. A definition is designed to settle a
thing in its compass and extent; an explanation is intended to
remove some obscurity or misunderstanding, and is therefore more
extended and minute; a description enters into striking
particulars with a view to interest or impress by graphic effect. It
is not therefore true, though often said, that description is
only an extended definition. "Logicians distinguish
definitions into essential and accidental. An
essential definition states what are regarded as the
constituent parts of the essence of that which is to be defined; and
an accidental definition lays down what are regarded as
circumstances belonging to it, viz., properties or accidents, such as
causes, effects, etc." Whately.