WordReference Random House Learner's Dictionary of American English © 2019
cen•ter /ˈsɛntɚ/USA pronunciation   n. 
  1. the middle part or point of something;
    core:the center of town; the center of the earth.
  2. Mathematicsthe point equally distant from all sides of an object;
    a point around which a circle may be drawn;
    a point around which something revolves or turns:Measure the circle from the center to any point on the edge to get the radius.
  3. [usually singular;  usually: the + ~] the source of an influence, action, or force: the center of a problem.
  4. a focus, as of interest or concern:For a few moments she was the center of attention.
  5. a principal point, place, or object: a shipping center.
  6. a building or part of a building that is used as a meeting place, or that deals with a particular subject, emergency, etc.:A crisis center was set up during the flood emergency.
  7. shopping center.
  8. Government[usually: Center]
    • Government(esp. in Europe) the members of a parliament who hold views between those of the Right and Left and who sit in the center of the chamber.

  1. to place in or on a center;
    move, or adjust to or on a center:[+ object]centered the subject in the camera's viewfinder.
  2. to collect to or around a center;
    concentrate: [+ object + on + object]He centered his novel on the Civil War.[+ on/around + object]His novel centers on the Civil War.

  1. (of a political party or position) considered moderate or in between the left and right positions:a center party.
Also, esp. Brit., ˈcen•tre.
WordReference Random House Unabridged Dictionary of American English © 2019
cen•ter  (sentər),USA pronunciation n. 
  1. Mathematics[Geom.]the middle point, as the point within a circle or sphere equally distant from all points of the circumference or surface, or the point within a regular polygon equally distant from the vertices.
  2. a point, pivot, axis, etc., around which anything rotates or revolves:The sun is the center of the solar system.
  3. the source of an influence, action, force, etc.:the center of a problem.
  4. a point, place, person, etc., upon which interest, emotion, etc., focuses:His family is the center of his life.
  5. a principal point, place, or object:a shipping center.
  6. a building or part of a building used as a meeting place for a particular group or having facilities for certain activities:a youth center; The company has a complete recreation center in the basement.
  7. an office or other facility providing a specific service or dealing with a particular emergency:a flood-relief center; a crisis center.
  8. a person, thing, group, etc., occupying the middle position, esp. a body of troops.
  9. the core or middle of anything:chocolate candies with fruit centers.
  10. a store or establishment devoted to a particular subject or hobby, carrying supplies, materials, tools, and books as well as offering guidance and advice:a garden center; a nutrition center.
  11. See  shopping center. 
  12. Government(usually cap.)
    • the part of a legislative assembly, esp. in continental Europe, that sits in the center of the chamber, a position customarily assigned to members of the legislature who hold political views intermediate between those of the Right and Left.
    • the members of such an assembly who sit in the Center.
    • the political position of persons who hold moderate views.
    • politically moderate persons, taken collectively;
      middle-of-the-roaders:Unfortunately, his homeland has always lacked a responsible Center.
  13. Sport[Football.]
    • a lineman who occupies a position in the middle of the line and who puts the ball into play by tossing it between his legs to a back.
    • the position played by this lineman.
  14. Sport[Basketball.]
    • a player who participates in a center jump.
    • the position of the player in the center of the court, where the center jump takes place at the beginning of play.
  15. Sport[Ice Hockey.]a player who participates in a face-off at the beginning of play.
  16. Sport[Baseball.]See  center field. 
  17. Physiologya cluster of nerve cells governing a specific organic process:the vasomotor center.
  18. Mathematics
    • the mean position of a figure or system.
    • the set of elements of a group that commute with every element of the group.
  19. [Mach.]
    • Mechanical Engineeringa tapered rod, mounted in the headstock spindle(live center) or the tailstock spindle (dead center) of a lathe, upon which the work to be turned is placed.
    • Mechanical Engineeringone of two similar points on some other machine, as a planing machine, enabling an object to be turned on its axis.
    • Mechanical Engineeringa tapered indentation, in a piece to be turned on a lathe, into which a center is fitted.
  20. Building, Idiomson center, from the centerline or midpoint of a structural member, an area of a plan, etc., to that of a similar member, area, etc.:The studs are set 30 inches on center. Abbr.:o.c.

  1. to place in or on a center:She centered the clock on the mantelpiece.
  2. to collect to or around a center;
    focus:He centered his novel on the Civil War.
  3. to determine or mark the center of:A small brass star centered the tabletop.
  4. to adjust, shape, or modify (an object, part, etc.) so that its axis or the like is in a central or normal position:to center the lens of a telescope; to center the work on a lathe.
  5. to place (an object, part, etc.) so as to be equidistant from all bordering or adjacent areas.
  6. Sport[Football.]snap (def. 20).
  7. to pass (a basketball, hockey puck, etc.) from any place along the periphery toward the middle of the playing area.

  1. to be at or come to a center.
  2. to come to a focus;
    concentrate (fol. by at, about, around, in, or on):The interest of the book centers specifically on the character of the eccentric hero. Political power in the town centers in the position of mayor.
  3. to gather or accumulate in a cluster* collect (fol. by at, about, around, in, or on):Shops and municipal buildings center around the city square.
Also,[esp. Brit.,] centre.  center•a•ble, adj. 
center•less, adj. 
  • Greek kéntron needle, spur, pivoting point in drawing a circle, derivative of kenteîn to sting
  • Latin centrum
  • variant of Middle English centre 1325–75
    • 1.See corresponding entry in Unabridged See  middle. 
    • 1.See corresponding entry in Unabridged edge.
    29. Although sometimes condemned for alleged illogicality, the phrases center about and center around have appeared in edited writing for more than a century to express the sense of gathering or collecting as if around a center:The objections center around the question of fiscal responsibility.

WordReference Random House Learner's Dictionary of American English © 2019
cen•tre /ˈsɛntɚ/USA pronunciation   n., v.,  -tred, -tring.  Chiefly Brit.
  1. British Terms center.

WordReference Random House Unabridged Dictionary of American English © 2019
cen•tre  (sentər),USA pronunciation n., v.,  -tred, -tring. [Chiefly Brit.]
  1. British Termscenter.

Collins Concise English Dictionary © HarperCollins Publishers::

center /ˈsɛntə/ n , vb
  1. the US spelling of centre

centre, US center /ˈsɛntə/ n
  1. the midpoint of any line or figure, esp the point within a circle or sphere that is equidistant from any point on the circumference or surface
  2. the point within a body through which a specified force may be considered to act, such as the centre of gravity
  3. the point, axis, or pivot about which a body rotates
  4. a point, area, or part that is approximately in the middle of a larger area or volume
  5. a place at which some specified activity is concentrated: a shopping centre
  6. a person or thing that is a focus of interest
  7. a place of activity or influence: a centre of power
  8. a person, group, policy, or thing in the middle
  9. (usually capital) a political party or group favouring moderation, esp the moderate members of a legislative assembly
  10. a bar with a conical point upon which a workpiece or part may be turned or ground
  11. a player who plays in the middle of the forward line
  12. the act or an instance of passing the ball from a wing to the middle of the field, court, etc
  1. to move towards, mark, put, or be at a centre
  2. (transitive) to focus or bring together: to centre one's thoughts
  3. (intransitive) often followed by on: to have as a main point of view or theme: the novel centred on crime
  4. (intr; followed by on or round) to have as a centre
  5. (transitive) to pass (the ball) into the middle of the field or court
Etymology: 14th Century: from Latin centrum the stationary point of a compass, from Greek kentron needle, from kentein to prick

'center' also found in these entries:
Collocations: center the [text, image], a [shopping, fitness, business] center, center the image on the [screen, page], more...

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