Definition definition, the act of defining, or of making something definite, distinct, or clear: We need a better definition of her responsibilities. See more. These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'definition.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. : an explanation of the meaning of a word, phrase. A statement of the meaning of a term. The term to be defined is the definiendum. The term may have different senses and multiple meanings. For each meaning.
A stipulative definition might be considered a temporary, working definition, and can only be disproved by showing a logical contradiction. Swartz defines a precising definition as one that extends the descriptive dictionary definition lexical definition for a specific purpose by including additional criteria.
A precising definition narrows the set of things that meet the definition. 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.
A recursive definition , sometimes also called an inductive definition, is one that defines a word in terms of itself, so to speak, albeit in a useful way. Normally this consists of three steps:.
For instance, we could define a natural number as follows after Peano:. So "0" will have exactly one successor, which for convenience can be called "1".
In turn, "1" will have exactly one successor, which could be called "2", and so on. Notice that the second condition in the definition itself refers to natural numbers, and hence involves self-reference.
Although this sort of definition involves a form of circularity , it is not vicious , and the definition has been quite successful.
In the same way, we can define ancestor as follows:. In medical dictionaries , definitions should to the greatest extent possible be:. Certain rules have traditionally been given for definitions in particular, genus-differentia definitions.
Given that a natural language such as English contains, at any given time, a finite number of words, any comprehensive list of definitions must either be circular or rely upon primitive notions. If every term of every definiens must itself be defined, "where at last should we stop?
Many philosophers have chosen instead to leave some terms undefined. The scholastic philosophers claimed that the highest genera the so-called ten generalissima cannot be defined, since a higher genus cannot be assigned under which they may fall. Thus being , unity and similar concepts cannot be defined. More recently Bertrand Russell sought to develop a formal language based on logical atoms. Other philosophers, notably Wittgenstein , rejected the need for any undefined simples.
Wittgenstein pointed out in his Philosophical Investigations that what counts as a "simple" in one circumstance might not do so in another. Locke and Mill also argued that individuals cannot be defined.
Names are learned by connecting an idea with a sound, so that speaker and hearer have the same idea when the same word is used. Saul Kripke pointed to difficulties with this approach, especially in relation to modality , in his book Naming and Necessity. There is a presumption in the classic example of a definition that the definiens can be stated. Wittgenstein argued that for some terms this is not the case.
In such cases, he argued, there is no fixed boundary that can be used to provide a definition. Rather, the items are grouped together because of a family resemblance. For terms such as these it is not possible and indeed not necessary to state a definition; rather, one simply comes to understand the use of the term. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For the definition of another word, try using Wiktionary. For other uses of the word "definition" itself, see Definition disambiguation.
For the company, see Definiens company. Intension and Extension semantics. Good reasons for better arguments: An introduction to the skills and values of critical thinking. Semantics and Pragmatics of English: Teaching English as a Foreign Language. A Concise Introduction to Logic 9 ed. Methodology, Systems and Applications: Study Sheet for Semantics". A Companion to Undergraduate Mathematics. Cambridge University Press, p. Landau 's essay " Sexual Intercourse in American College Dictionaries " provides other examples of circularity in dictionary definitions.
Austin involved taking up a dictionary and finding a selection of terms relating to the key concept, then looking up each of the words in the explanation of their meaning.
Then, iterating this process until the list of words begins to repeat, closing in a "family circle" of words relating to the key concept. A plea for excuses in Philosophical Papers. Joseph, Horace William Brindley An Introduction to Logic, 2nd edition. Principles of logic, 3d ed. Longmans, Green and co. An Essay Concerning Human Understanding. From the bawdy to the sublime, the best writing on language for word lovers, grammar mavens, and armchair linguists. Macagno, Fabrizio; Walton, Douglas Emotive Language in Argumentation.
At The Clarendon Press. Simpson, John; Edmund Weiner Oxford English Dictionary , second edition 20 volumes. Argumentation Metalogic Metamathematics Set. Mathematical logic Boolean algebra Set theory. Logicians Rules of inference Paradoxes Fallacies Logic symbols. Retrieved from " https: Philosophical logic Definition Philosophy of language Semantics Mathematical terminology Concepts in logic Lexicography Meaning philosophy of language.
Views Read Edit View history. On the other hand, if I buy 20 beers a night, every night, that creates a substantial financial burden. I might not even be able to afford my groceries, much less lunch with my co-workers. The odds are good that I might not be able to keep my job either! Similarly, depending upon your own personal values, occasionally looking at porn probably doesn't cause substantial harm to most people. But if someone begins to prefer porn over human contact or cannot enjoy sex without porn, and starts to spend half their income on purchasing porn, they start to meet the criteria for substantial harm.
One way to understand "substantial harm" is to consider the harmful consequences of the activity or substance use.
Let's call these consequences costs. Some costs are obvious. They arise directly from the substance or activity itself. There are also other, less-obvious costs. These occur because of the preoccupation with the addiction. Direct costs may be unique to the specific substance or activity itself.
If you snort enough cocaine you will damage your nose. If you drink enough alcohol you will damage your digestive system. If you watch porn all day, you will lose interest in real sexual partners.
If you shoot up enough heroin you will damage your veins. If you gamble a lot, you will lose a great deal of money. Some direct costs universally apply to most addictions: The less-obvious, indirect costs arise solely from the preoccupation with addiction. Eventually an addiction becomes so central in a person's life that it consumes all their time, energy, and preoccupies their thoughts.
Sometimes individuals affected by addiction do not readily see that their involvement with a substance or activity has resulted in substantial harm. Therefore, they may "deny" they have addiction. Of course, this "denial" makes perfect sense because substantial harm is a defining characteristic of addiction.
Without it, there is no addiction. However, to other people these individuals seem indifferent to the harm their addiction causes. In response to this apparent lack of concern, these individuals are often told they are "in denial. We have never found accusations of this sort to be helpful.
A more useful approach is to recognize many individuals are simply unaware of the total costs associated with their addiction. This recognition leads to a non-judgmental approach that encourages an honest and accurate appraisal of these costs. This helps people recognize the substantial harm caused by remaining involved with an addictive substance or activity.
You can review the harmful costs of addiction in the section called, How do I know if I have an addiction? Definition of Addiction includes repeated involvement despite substantial harm.
The definition of addiction: In this section, we discuss the third part of the definition: You could experience significant negative consequences "substantial harm" from substance use or an activity but we probably would not label your behavior an addiction unless it happened regularly.
For instance, the first time someone gets drunk they might have serious car accident. We would probably not label the person an alcoholic, even though "substantial harm" occurred. Or let's imagine that your son, age 28, gets drunk at his younger sister's wedding. He throws up on the wedding cake.
He calls his sister a whore. He drops Aunt Sally on the floor while he's dancing with her. Next, he proceeds to pass out on the dance floor. For the five years before this wedding day debacle, he consumed no more than drinks, a few times a month. Are you ready to call him an alcoholic? You might be very upset! It becomes evident that addiction refers to a repeated behavior despite negative consequences. Ordinarily, once the costs of an enjoyable behavior pile up, people will begin to naturally restrict or quit that behavior.
This is another fact that distinguishes addictive behavior, from merely "bad behavior. All addictions begin in this rather normal realm of the pursuit of pleasure. The problems of addiction do not develop because of these pleasurable activities. Addiction becomes evident when someone seems to be unable to limit or stop these pleasurable activities. They seemingly demonstrate a "loss of control. The problem of addiction is that they cannot seem to stop. Imagine that someone goes gambling for the first time.
Win or lose, it's fun. Sometimes it's very fun. Not too much money gets spent. The experience is affordable, relative to that person's income. What's the harm in that? However, this time they keep getting credit card cash advances for much more than they can afford. By the end of the evening, they blew their entire paycheck. They may feel a lot of remorse and regret about what happened.
Most people would not wish to repeat that experience, and thankfully most do not. However, people who develop addiction will repeat that experience and return to the casino, spending more than they can afford. This occurs despite the commitments to themselves or to others to "never to do that again.
As someone's addiction progresses gets worse , that person feels "out-of-control" or "powerless" over their own behavior. Despite their best intentions to remain in control of their behavior, there are repeated episodes with more negative consequences.
Sometimes the person is aware of this reduced control. Other times they may deceive themselves about how easy it would be to quit "anytime I want to. But, the requirements for making changes to our behavior are frequently under-estimated.
Synonyms for definition at korean-war.info with free online thesaurus, antonyms, and definitions. Find descriptive alternatives for definition. A definition is a statement of the meaning of a term Definitions can be classified into two large categories, intensional definitions and extensional definitions. Definition of definition - a statement of the exact meaning of a word, especially in a dictionary, the degree of distinctness in outline of an object, image.