Definition of determine in English:



[with object]
  • 1Cause (something) to occur in a particular way or to have a particular nature.

    ‘it will be her mental attitude that determines her future’
    • ‘Since a thing's criteria of identity are determined by its nature or kind, God is their ultimate ground.’
    • ‘Nor are the links with the unions in themselves decisive in determining the class nature of a party.’
    • ‘Prior research has shown that both family and community attitudes are influential in determining the amount of involvement of youth in activities.’
    • ‘The speed, type, size and quality of these networks determine the level and nature of participation available to communities.’
    • ‘Yet the stigmatizing nature of HIV determines the social consequences of the disease; thus, framing the nature of that experience.’
    • ‘The nature of the dictatorships determined the savage character of the eastern conflict.’
    • ‘The discussion then is not necessarily limited to whether nature determines culture or whether nature is simply a cultural construction.’
    • ‘Because the danger exists that Bank of Ireland and AIB will now be snapped up as globalisation increasingly determines the future of the Irish economy.’
    • ‘The results of your poll are largely determined by the nature of the publication itself.’
    • ‘Names are not determined by nature, nor is one name for a thing more correct than another.’
    • ‘Obviously the means used to drive out imperial occupiers are determined by the nature of the occupation.’
    • ‘The nature of the fall determines the site of the break, but decreased bone density is also necessary.’
    • ‘The nature of structural factors determining levels of variation below the species level has not been examined.’
    • ‘You may say that you believe your actions to be meaningful, but you can never know to what extent your given nature is determining them.’
    • ‘Anthropologist Small follows the various strands of nature and nurture that determine the fate of our children.’
    • ‘The number of great powers at any time is considered a key feature of the international system, important in determining the level and nature of war.’
    • ‘Watermen believe that only God and nature can determine the abundance or scarcity of crabs.’
    • ‘At the centre of the Oedipus tragedy is man's struggle to understand the forces of nature that determine the course of events in the world in which he lives.’
    • ‘The role of certainty of paternity in determining the degree and nature of male investment in offspring is equivocal.’
    • ‘They do not accept that the biological world is governed by mechanistic processes determined by laws of nature.’
    deciding, decisive, conclusive, final, settling, definitive, key, pivotal, crucial, critical, most influential, significant, major, chief, principal, prime, paramount
    control, decide, regulate, direct, rule, dictate, govern, condition, form, shape
    prompt, impel, induce, influence, sway, lead, move, cause, motivate, stimulate, prod, spur on, provoke, incite, dispose, incline, persuade, encourage, urge, inspire
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  • 2Ascertain or establish exactly by research or calculation.

    ‘the inquest is entrusted with the task of determining the cause of death’
    with clause ‘the point of our study was to determine what is true, not what is practicable’
    • ‘Presenters will also discuss the need for new service delivery systems and research to determine what works.’
    • ‘We need additional research to determine what remediation methods are most appropriate for which kinds of student impairment.’
    • ‘Nortel has now entered into consultations with employees to determine the scope and nature of the cuts, as well as any redundancy packages to be offered.’
    • ‘Further research will be necessary to determine what suppression of testosterone levels might mean, Sharpe said.’
    • ‘They have access to the best sources of information and regularly dissect competitive moves to determine future trends.’
    • ‘A good plumber or mechanical engineer should do a heat-loss calculation for your rooms to determine what output radiators you need.’
    • ‘This study was more qualitative in nature, determining the amount of exercise required for joint enhancement.’
    • ‘Study results vary and some experts say more research is needed to determine what negative impacts DDT has on humans.’
    • ‘Do your research and determine what will be best for you and your child.’
    • ‘Today a spokesman for the council said contractors were working to determine the extent and nature of the subsidence and apologised for the inconvenience caused to drivers.’
    • ‘Parents, students and teachers should be free to determine what is learnt and employers and society should be free to pass judgement thereon.’
    • ‘There are numerous such mechanisms, which range from determining the scope and nature of judicial jurisdiction to the setting of judicial salaries.’
    • ‘He travelled to Alexandria to oversee the construction of a practical water supply and to determine the size and nature of the local populus.’
    • ‘Landfill sites are a potentially important cause of environmental pollution and ill health and studies are needed to determine the size and nature of such potential risks.’
    • ‘The next step for researchers is to determine what lynx perceive as a barrier between one forest and the next.’
    • ‘Such information may be useful to future investigators in determining the motivating factors behind participation in treatment programs.’
    • ‘Knowing that an author might be biased doesn't aid in determining the extent and nature of the bias.’
    • ‘Do an assessment to determine what additional equipment may be needed and determine the best location for the equipment.’
    • ‘The aim was to determine what athletes should be excluded from the Olympics because of steroid use in a bid to avoid the embarrassment of a positive drugs test on the world stage.’
    • ‘Automatically recorded information is becoming ever-more critical in determining the causes of increasingly complex accidents.’
    find out, discover, ascertain, learn, establish, fix, settle, decide, calculate, work out, make out, fathom, fathom out, come to know, get to know, ferret out, deduce, divine, intuit, diagnose, discern, check, verify, confirm, make certain of, certify
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    1. 2.1Mathematics Specify the value, position, or form of (a mathematical or geometrical object) uniquely.
      • ‘Weil's work on polynomial equations led to questions on what properties of a geometric object can be determined purely algebraically.’
      • ‘Determine the geometric object represented by the equation and draw this object.’
  • 3no object Firmly decide.

    ‘he determined on a withdrawal of his forces’
    with infinitive ‘she determined to tackle Stephen the next day’
    with clause ‘my wife had determined that I must swap my old bike for a car’
    • ‘The thought of leading the cloistered life of a nun made her bitterly unhappy, and she determined to run away from the convent.’
    • ‘Lily had determined that she would not be sad.’
    • ‘Graham's determined that our remaining time here should be as short as possible.’
    • ‘For some reason, they determined on migrating to the eastward, and accordingly set out together in a body.’
    resolve, decide, come to a decision, make a decision, reach a decision, make up one's mind, choose, elect, opt
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  • 4Law
    archaic Bring or come to an end.

    • ‘This issue, as between Mr Rogers and Mrs Bailey, was not determined by the defendant.’
    • ‘The English courts are obviously an appropriate forum to determine English Law issues.’
    • ‘The wife requests that the matter of spousal support not be determined at this hearing.’
    • ‘The firm was also involved in a number of other major judicial review proceedings which would be determined in the first three months of 2000.’
    • ‘That particular question must be determined against the appellant.’


Late Middle English: from Old French determiner, from Latin determinare ‘limit, fix’, from de- ‘completely’ + terminare ‘terminate’.