Definition of determinate in English:



  • 1Having exact and discernible limits or form.

    ‘the longest determinate prison sentence ever upheld by English courts’
    • ‘Discretionary parole has given way to longer and longer determinate sentences, coupled with an accelerating erosion of reformative prison programs.’
    • ‘One strategy of evaluation is to choose a fairly determinate poetic problem with a set of standard solutions, and then compare the ways that different poets handle that problem.’
    • ‘We see no reason why that should not be the determinate sentence that we now impose and we accordingly do so.’
    • ‘Such a calculus is like a machine which, fed with certain raw materials, manufactures a determinate product in an exact, orderly, and unvarying manner.’
    • ‘As stated, the priority doctrine does not specify a determinate principle but a family of principles.’
    • ‘Rawls aspires to the construction of a very determinate theory from quite minimal premisses, and proceeds with great rigor and sophistication.’
    • ‘The movements of economic quantities were determinate, at least in principle.’
    • ‘All of this expresses very well a necessary order and a determinate process, but one into which freedom, unorthodoxy and the sphere of the gratuitous and spontaneous cannot penetrate.’
    • ‘To be sure, one cannot place determinate limits on how much humans can come to know and how much we can control through our technology.’
    • ‘Complex, highly integrated colonies, such as siphonophores, display a well defined colony shape with determinate growth.’
    • ‘Schmitt, in short, relocated the quest for determinate answers to legal questions from the rules themselves to the activities of judicial decision-makers.’
    • ‘He knows better how every thing is likely to affect them, and his sympathy with them is more precise and determinate, than it can be with the greater part of other people.’
    • ‘The determinate sentence might be six weeks and yet he might be subject to one of these indefinite sentences which means he might not be released for the rest of his life.’
    • ‘The applicant is entitled to have some, very little, credit from that and to have a determinate, long period before he can apply for parole.’
    • ‘God is manifested through a set of determinate legal commands that specify the right way to act in virtually all circumstances.’
    • ‘There must be a determinate and expressible structural isomorphism, even though one could not say that the blueprint realizes the form of the house.’
    • ‘Indeed, he draws determinate conclusions only about the people who respond to the sense of transcendence or about the characters in their novels.’
    • ‘Correction here is not the weeding out of false beliefs, but the development of a more discriminating set of concepts and the correlative ability to express these more determinate concepts in linguistically appropriate ways.’
    • ‘Sartre describes human consciousness as a perpetual beginning, an ‘impersonal spontaneity’ with no determinate content or progenitor.’
    • ‘Well, I don't think you ought to really use the polls as a firm indicator of success or failure, because polls this far out really aren't that determinate.’
    fixed, settled, specified, quantified, established, defined, explicit, known, determined, definitive, conclusive, express, precise, final, ultimate, absolute, categorical, positive, definite
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Botany (of a flowering shoot) having the main axis ending in a flower bud and therefore no longer extending in length, as in a cyme.
      • ‘At maturity, the determinate plants also have a rather dense cluster of pods on a terminal raceme.’
      • ‘More recent studies have shown that this is not always the case: in several legumes with determinate nodules, bacteroids can divide and multiply after release from the host cell.’
      • ‘In the determinate type, the inflorescence meristem becomes a terminal flower, whereas in the indeterminate type the inflorescence meristem gives rise to a number of floral meristems.’
      • ‘When inoculated with M. loti, L. japonicus roots grafted on M. truncatula shoots produced determinate nodules identical in appearance to those produced on L. japonicus self-grafted roots.’
      • ‘Short determinate varieties generally follow the trends discussed, however, higher seeding rates will increase plant height and the lowest pod heights which may be an advantage for determinate varieties.’


Late Middle English: from Latin determinatus ‘limited, determined’, past participle of determinare (see determine).