[lahyv] /laɪv/

noun, Machinery.
See under (def 19).
[sen-ter] /ˈsɛn tər/
Geometry. 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.
a point, pivot, axis, etc., around which anything rotates or revolves:
The sun is the center of the solar system.
the source of an influence, action, force, etc.:
the center of a problem.
a point, place, person, etc., upon which interest, emotion, etc., focuses:
His family is the center of his life.
a principal point, place, or object:
a shipping center.
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.
an office or other facility providing a specific service or dealing with a particular emergency:
a flood-relief center; a crisis center.
a person, thing, group, etc., occupying the middle position, especially a body of troops.
the core or middle of anything:
chocolate candies with fruit centers.
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.
(usually initial capital letter) Government.



Ice Hockey. a player who participates in a face-off at the beginning of play.
Baseball. .
Physiology. a cluster of nerve cells governing a specific organic process:
the vasomotor center.


verb (used with object)
to place in or on a center:
She centered the clock on the mantelpiece.
to collect to or around a center; focus:
He centered his novel on the Civil War.
to determine or mark the center of:
A small brass star centered the tabletop.
to adjust, shape, or modify (an object, part, etc.) so that its axis or the like is in a or normal position:
to center the lens of a telescope; to center the work on a lathe.
to place (an object, part, etc.) so as to be equidistant from all bordering or adjacent areas.
Football. (def 21).
to pass (a basketball, hockey puck, etc.) from any place along the periphery toward the middle of the playing area.
verb (used without object)
to be at or come to a center.
to come to a focus; converge; concentrate (followed 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.
to gather or accumulate in a cluster; collect (followed by at, about, around, in, or on):
Shops and municipal buildings center around the city square.
on 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.
Abbreviation: o.c.
noun, verb
the US spelling of centre

late 14c., “middle point of a circle; point round which something revolves,” from Old French centre (14c.), from Latin centrum “center,” originally fixed point of the two points of a drafting compass, from Greek kentron “sharp point, goad, sting of a wasp,” from kentein “stitch,” from PIE root *kent- “to prick” (cf. Breton kentr “a spur,” Welsh cethr “nail,” Old High German hantag “sharp, pointed”).

Figuratively from 1680s. Meaning “the middle of anything” attested from 1590s. Spelling with -re popularized in Britain by Johnson’s dictionary (following Bailey’s), though -er is older and was used by Shakespeare, Milton, and Pope. Center of gravity is recorded from 1650s. Center of attention is from 1868.

1590s, “to concentrate at a center,” from center (n.). Related: Centered; centering. Meaning “to rest as at a center” is from 1620s. Sports sense of “to hit toward the center” is from 1890. To be centered on is from 1713. In combinations, -centered is attested by 1958.

center cen·ter (sěn’tər)

Related Terms

dead center, front and center
In addition to the idiom beginning with center


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