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  • Verb

define

dih-FAHYN

Context
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So, today my teacher asked me to define or state the meaning of the word “gigglygoobird.” I had to look it up in the dictionary in order to define or explain what it meant, as I had no idea what a gigglygoobird was. The word “gigglygoobird” wasn’t even in the dictionary, so I told my teacher that I was not able to define or give the meaning of that word. He laughed and told me that he hadn’t meant for me to define or put its meaning into words, as he had totally made it up as an April Fools’ Day joke!

Quiz: If a teacher were to ask you to define a word, what would she want?

  • She would want you to make up the meaning of the word, and then give its opposite meaning too.
  • She would want you to look it up in the dictionary so you could tell her what the word means.
  • She would want you to look through many dictionaries to find out how to use them.

Memory Hook
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Deaf Pineapple A pineapple has no ears, so you cannot define a pineapple as a fruit that is deaf!

Examples
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  • The dawn cracked and hummed and the snow was so fine that it floated above the ground when a breeze stirred. —Julie of the Wolves
  • Thus it now appears to me that trust, and not submission, defines obedience. —A Gathering of Days

Word Ingredients
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de- thoroughly
fin form a boundary, limit
e used for spelling and pronunciation

When you define a word, you “thoroughly limit” it to its own meaning, hence “forming a boundary” around what it can mean and what it cannot.

Word Theater
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The Matrix How do you define what is real?
Define

Word Constellation
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Define

Word Variants
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definition n the meaning of a word