Words related to determine


active word-forming element in English and in many verbs inherited from French and Latin, from Latin de "down, down from, from, off; concerning" (see de), also used as a prefix in Latin, usually meaning "down, off, away, from among, down from," but also "down to the bottom, totally" hence "completely" (intensive or completive), which is its sense in many English words.

As a Latin prefix it also had the function of undoing or reversing a verb's action, and hence it came to be used as a pure privative — "not, do the opposite of, undo" — which is its primary function as a living prefix in English, as in defrost (1895), defuse (1943), de-escalate (1964), etc. In some cases, a reduced form of dis-.

terminus (n.)

1550s, "goal, end, final point," from Latin terminus (plural termini) "an end, a limit, boundary line," from PIE *ter-men- "peg, post," from root *ter-, base of words meaning "peg, post; boundary, marker, goal" (source also of Sanskrit tarati "passes over, crosses over," tarantah "sea;" Hittite tarma- "peg, nail," tarmaizzi "he limits;" Greek terma "boundary, end-point, limit," termon "border;" Gothic þairh, Old English þurh "through;" Old English þyrel "hole;" Old Norse þrömr "edge, chip, splinter"). "The Hittite noun and the usage in Latin suggest that the PIE word denoted a concrete object which came to refer to a boundary-stone." [de Vaan]

In ancient Rome, Terminus was the name of the deity who presided over boundaries and landmarks, focus of the important Roman festival of Terminalia (held Feb. 23, the end of the old Roman year). The meaning "either end of a transportation line" is first recorded 1836.

determinate (adj.)

late 14c., "having defined limits, definite, defined, specific," from Latin determinatus, past participle of determinare "to enclose, bound, set limits to" (see determine). Also "fixed in mind" (mid-15c.).

determination (n.)

mid-14c., determinacioun, "decision, sentence in a suit at law, definite or authoritative judicial settlement," from Old French déterminacion "determination, settlement, definition" (14c.) and directly from Medieval Latin determinationem (nominative determinatio) "conclusion, boundary," noun of action from past-participle stem of Latin determinare "to enclose, bound, set limits to" (see determine).

Meaning "action of definitely ascertaining" is from 1670s; that of "result ascertained, a conclusion" is from 1560s. As "fixed direction toward a goal or terminal point," from 1650s, originally in physics or anatomy; metaphoric sense "fixation of will toward a goal, state of mental resolution with regard to something" is from 1680s; general sense of "quality of being resolute, fixedness of purpose as a character trait" is by 1822.

determinative (adj.)

"having power or tendency to fix or decide," 1650s, from French déterminatif (15c.), from Latin determinat-, past-participle stem of determinare "to enclose, bound, set limits to" (see determine). Meaning "serving to determine the precise kind of a thing" is from 1690s. As a noun, "that which determines," from 1832.

determined (adj.)

late 14c., "bound, limited, restricted;" 1560s, "decided," past-participle adjective from determine. Meaning "characterized by resolution" is from c. 1600, of actions; 1772, of persons. The earlier adjective in this sense was determinate. To be determined "have come to a decision, be resolved" is from 1510s. Related: Determinedly.

determinism (n.)

1846, introduced by William Hamilton for "doctrine of the necessitarian philosophers" (who hold that human action is not free but necessarily determined by motives, regarded as external forces acting on the will or character of the person). See determine + -ism.

Determinism does not imply materialism, atheism, or a denial of moral responsibility; while it is in direct opposition to fatalism and to the doctrine of the freedom of the will. [Century Dictionary]

 From 1876 in general sense of "doctrine that everything happens is determined by a necessary chain of causation," from French déterminisme, from German Determinismus, perhaps a back-formation from Praedeterminismus.

indeterminable (adj.)
late 15c., from Late Latin indeterminabilis "that cannot be defined," from in- "not" (see in- (1)) + determinabilis "that can be defined," from determinare "to enclose, bound, set limits to" (see determine). Related: Indeterminably.
indeterminate (adj.)
late 14c., from Late Latin indeterminatus "undefined, unlimited," from in- "not, opposite of" (see in- (1)) + determinatus, past participle of determinare "to enclose, bound, set limits to" (see determine). Related: Indeterminately.
predetermine (v.)

"to determine beforehand, destine by previous decree," 1620s, originally theological, from pre- "before" + determine or else from Late Latin praedeterminare (Augustine). Related: Predetermined; predetermining; predeterminate.