Definition of classify in US English:


verbclassifying, classified, classifies

[with object]
  • 1Arrange (a group of people or things) in classes or categories according to shared qualities or characteristics.

    ‘mountain peaks are classified according to their shape’
    • ‘Information categorization is the process by which documents are classified into different categories.’
    • ‘The tickets have been classified into nine categories to cater for different sets of target customers.’
    • ‘Science is knowledge arranged and classified according to truth, facts, and the general laws of nature.’
    • ‘These groups are classified into three cultures: those in the interior, the countryside, and the coastal regions.’
    • ‘These shares are classified by their back-end or contingent deferred sales charge.’
    • ‘This may well be intentional since this book has been classified for historical reading.’
    • ‘A table at the end of the book also classifies documents into a number of topical categories.’
    • ‘If they do, they are, of course, classified on that basis.’
    • ‘Overall, 94.9 % of the participants were correctly classified into their respective smoking groups.’
    • ‘A successful insurance policy allows individuals to be correctly classified into a risk category.’
    • ‘Soils within the park have been classified into 29 types.’
    • ‘If you spot other incorrectly classified books, feel free to relocate them.’
    • ‘Techniques have been developed to automatically classify documents with respect to their topic.’
    • ‘As shown in the table, all 25 specimens from Dover were correctly classified.’
    • ‘Another of his interests was in classifying information and he made substantial contributions to this in his work in preparing a cumulative index for the first 23 volumes of the Mathematics of Computation.’
    • ‘Smaller chunks of ice without proper names do get classified into categories.’
    • ‘Mothers were thus classified into two distinct groups.’
    • ‘Rural areas in India can be broadly classified into three categories.’
    • ‘For instance, the search engine's ability to classify information through the use of meta-tags written by a programmer can distance the user from his or her original course.’
    • ‘Next to these volumes was a notebook where he keeps a handwritten, detailed catalog of all the items in the collection, classified by writer, title, publisher, and the book's location in his library.’
    put in order, order, set out, lay out, spread out, array, present, put out, display, exhibit, group, sort, organize, tidy, position, dispose
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    1. 1.1 Assign (someone or something) to a particular class or category.
      ‘elements are usually classified as metals or nonmetals’
      • ‘Two were classified as level five - the most serious category.’
      • ‘The Regatta is classified as a category C event.’
      • ‘Tumors were classified as high grade when the combined Gleason score was 7 or above and as low grade when the combined score was 6 or below.’
      • ‘For a pothole to be classified as ‘Category One’ it would have to be four inches deep, or be assessed by an expert as being dangerous on other grounds.’
      • ‘The detainees are all classified as category A prisoners and spend between 20 and 24 hours a day inside their cells.’
      • ‘He hopes to be classified as a refugee and assigned to a country so he can complete high school and go on to university.’
      • ‘The film has been classified as category III in Hong Kong, meaning it can only be shown to persons aged over 18.’
      • ‘Many diseases previously classified as Th1 or Th2 dominant fail to meet the set criteria.’
      • ‘In Johannesburg, for example, the jacaranda tree, currently in bloom across the city, is classified as a category three invasive plant.’
      • ‘A concussion that does result in a loss of consciousness is typically classified as a higher grade, or more severe, concussion.’
      • ‘For an employment category to be classified as specified, there must be a low probability of its members reaching the minimum requisite rank because of its career structure.’
      • ‘These genes are classified as growth rate regulated genes.’
      • ‘For the first time in the five-year history of the Classic, it is being classified as a Category 1 event by the World Professional Darts Council.’
      • ‘In order to be classified as sci-fi does a piece have to overtly explain itself in scientific terms?’
      • ‘As a result people coming from countries on the list cannot be classified as asylum seekers because, by definition, none of its citizens can be considered under threat.’
      • ‘These rates are classified as minimal; however, 14 per 10 000 of these minor events were reported as significant.’
      • ‘Of the 264 items listed, 228 were classified as symbolic beliefs (the remaining 36 were descriptions of gay men or lesbian women).’
      • ‘If there is no evidence of bleeding, the error would be classified as a category D.’
      • ‘Respondents had to correctly identify the brand name or company name in order to be classified as providing a correct response.’
      • ‘They found that similar rates of women were classified as low risk (48% in private hospitals and 49% in public).’
      categorize, class, group, put into sets, grade, rank, rate, order, organize, range, sort, type, codify, bracket, systematize, systemize, stratify, catalogue, tabulate, list, file, index
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    2. 1.2 Designate (documents or information) as officially secret or to which only authorized people may have access.
      ‘government officials classified 6.3 million documents in 1992’
      • ‘Unlike the U.S., the USSR classified all hard information on their space program as state secrets.’
      • ‘One source of amusement was the fact that virtually anyone could classify a document, while a high-level review was required to declassify it.’
      • ‘There are exceptions to protect the privacy of individuals, but the state's power to classify documents as national-security secrets is strictly limited.’
      • ‘What is the essence of balancing the vital interests of the state, society, and individuals in classifying information on arms and military equipment?’
      • ‘And if allowed, they will classify the documents for 100 years.’
      • ‘Only the president, the premier or cabinet members acting as proxy for either of them can classify a document as ‘top secret.’’
      • ‘The administration's addiction to classifying documents is making an unnecessary casualty of the openness vital to democracy.’
      • ‘But remember that information is classified for a certain time period.’
      • ‘The United States Government classifies information according to the degree which the unauthorized disclosure would damage national security.’
      • ‘Many of the records are classified top secret, with much of the information withheld from release due to its perceived sensitivity.’
      • ‘We have learned to our dismay how quick government officials are to classify information, even when it is already in the public domain.’


Late 18th century: back-formation from classification, from French, from classe ‘class’, from Latin classis ‘division’.