A word, phrase, or symbolic expression used to define something, especially in a dictionary entry, or introducing a word or symbol into a logical system by providing a statement of its meaning.Contrasted with definiendum‘He required of definition that the definiens (the statement of definition) should be synonymous with the definiendum (the expression or concept being defined) but contain no terms in common with it.’
- ‘The former is defined, by the ancient logic texts I love, as when a definition uses the same terms in the definiens as in the definiendum.’
- ‘The use of the definiens and of the definiendum, violation of a law of nature, both assume that the operation of a law of nature is logically compatible with the occurrence of an exception to its operation.’
- ‘Consider as a definiendum a universal, such as man, and its definiens, rational animal.’
- ‘This, of course, is Moore's open question argument. ‘If ‘good’ was definable it was a complex, and so it could be asked of any definiens if it was good.’
Late 19th century from medieval Latin, ‘defining’, present participle of definire (see define).