Dictionary: A   B   C   D   E   F   G   H   I   J   K   L   M   N   O   P   Q   R   S   T   U   V   W   X   Y   Z


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.
shopping center.
(usually initial capital letter) Government.

the part of a legislative assembly, especially 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; Centrists; middle-of-the-roaders:
Unfortunately, his homeland has always lacked a responsible Center.


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.


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.

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

the mean position of a figure or system.
the set of elements of a group that commute with every element of the group.


a 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.
one of two similar points on some other machine, as a planing machine, enabling an object to be turned on its axis.
a tapered indentation, in a piece to be turned on a lathe, into which a center is fitted.

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 central 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. snap (def 21).
to pass (a basketball, hockey puck, etc.) from any place along the periphery toward the middle of the playing area.
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.
Historical Examples

a temporary structure, esp one made of timber, used to support an arch during construction
noun, verb
the US spelling of centre

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
the point within a body through which a specified force may be considered to act, such as the centre of gravity

the point, axis, or pivot about which a body rotates
a point, area, or part that is approximately in the middle of a larger area or volume
a place at which some specified activity is concentrated: a shopping centre
a person or thing that is a focus of interest
a place of activity or influence: a centre of power
a person, group, policy, or thing in the middle
(usually capital) (politics)

a political party or group favouring moderation, esp the moderate members of a legislative assembly
(as modifier): a Centre-Left alliance

(physiol) any part of the central nervous system that regulates a specific function: respiratory centre
a bar with a conical point upon which a workpiece or part may be turned or ground
a punch mark or small conical hole in a part to be drilled, which enables the point of the drill to be located accurately

a player who plays in the middle of the forward line
the act or an instance of passing the ball from a wing to the middle of the field, court, etc


the position of a player who jumps for the ball at the start of play
the player in this position


the ring around the bull’s eye
a shot that hits this ring

to move towards, mark, put, or be at a centre
(transitive) to focus or bring together: to centre one’s thoughts
(intransitive) often foll by on. to have as a main point of view or theme: the novel centred on crime
(transitive) to adjust or locate (a workpiece or part) using a centre
(intransitive; foll by on or round) to have as a centre
(transitive) (sport) to pass (the ball) into the middle of the field or court
the Centre (ˈsɛntə). the sparsely inhabited central region of Australia
(French) (sɑ̃trə). a region of central France: generally low-lying; drained chiefly by the Rivers Loire, Loir, and Cher

chiefly British English spelling of center (q.v.); for ending, see -re.

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)

A point or place in the body that is equally distant from its sides or outer boundaries; the middle.

A group of neurons in the central nervous system that control a particular function.

Related Terms

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


Read Also:

  • Centriole

    a small, cylindrical cell organelle, seen near the nucleus in the cytoplasm of most eukaryotic cells, that divides in perpendicular fashion during mitosis, the new pair of centrioles moving ahead of the spindle to opposite poles of the cell as the cell divides: identical in internal structure to a basal body. noun either of two […]

  • Centripetal-force

    the force, acting upon a body moving along a curved path, that is directed toward the center of curvature of the path and constrains the body to the path. noun a force that acts inwards on any body that rotates or moves along a curved path and is directed towards the centre of curvature of […]

  • Centripetal nerve

    centripetal nerve n. See afferent nerve.

  • Centripetalism

    directed toward the center (opposed to centrifugal). operating by centripetal force. Physiology. afferent. adjective acting, moving, or tending to move towards a centre Compare centrifugal of, concerned with, or operated by centripetal force (botany) (esp of certain inflorescences) developing from the outside towards the centre (physiol) another word for afferent adj. 1709, from Modern Latin, […]

Disclaimer: Centring definition / meaning should not be considered complete, up to date, and is not intended to be used in place of a visit, consultation, or advice of a legal, medical, or any other professional. All content on this website is for informational purposes only.