The red ball is in the center of the circle.
- The definition of center is the middle or the point equally distant from all sides.
An example of center is the middle of a circle.
- To center is to focus your argument around or to put something in the middle.
- An example of center is to base an argument around a particular resource.
- An example of center is to move your couch into the middle of the room.
- a point equally distant from all points on the circumference of a circle or surface of a sphere
- the point around which anything revolves; pivot
- a place at which an activity or complex of activities is carried on: a shopping center
- a place from which ideas, influences, etc. emanate: Paris, the fashion center
- a place to which many people are attracted: a center of interest
- the approximate middle point, place, or part of anything
- a group of nerve cells regulating a particular function: the vasomotor centers
- one of two tapered or conical pins or rods, as on a lathe, for holding a piece of work in position
- an indentation in either end of such a piece in which the pin fits
- Mil. that part of an army situated between the flanks
- [oftenC-]Politics a position, party, or group between the left (radicals and liberals) and the right (conservatives and reactionaries): so called from the position of the seats occupied in some European legislatures
- a player whose position at the start of a contest is at the center of the line or playing area
- Football the offensive lineman who passes the ball between the legs to a player in the backfield to start play
- Baseball center field
Origin of centerMiddle English and Old French centre from Classical Latin centrum, center, origin, originally , that point of the compass around which the other describes the circle from Classical Greek kentron, sharp point, goad from kentein, to stitch from Indo-European base an unverified form ?ent-, to prick from source Old High German hantag, sharp, Gothic handugs, wise, Old Norse hannarr, skillful
- to place in, at, or near the center
- to draw to one place; gather to a point
- to furnish with a center
- Football to pass (the ball) to a player in the backfield: said of the center
- to be centered; be concentrated or focused: usually with on or in
- Sports to play the position of center
- A point or place that is equally distant from the sides or outer boundaries of something; the middle: the center of a stage.
- a. A point equidistant from the vertices of a regular polygon.b. A point equidistant from all points on the circumference of a circle or on the surface of a sphere.
- A point around which something rotates or revolves: The sun is the center of our solar system.
- A part of an object that is surrounded by the rest; a core: chocolates with soft centers.
- a. A place where a particular activity or service is concentrated: a medical center.b. A point of origin, as of influence, ideas, or actions: a center of power; a center of unrest.c. An area of dense population: a metropolitan center.
- A person or thing that is the chief object of attention, interest, activity, or emotion.
- A person, object, or group occupying a middle position.
- often Center A political group or a set of policies representing a moderate view between those of the right and the left.
- Physiology A group of neurons in the central nervous system that control a particular function: the vasomotor center.
- a. Sports A player who holds a middle position on the field, court, or forward line in some team sports, such as hockey and basketball.b. Football An offensive lineman who snaps the ball to begin a play, usually positioned in the middle of the line.c. Baseball Center field.
- a. A small conical hole made in a piece of work with a center punch so that a drill can be accurately positioned within it.b. A bar with a conical point used to support work, as during turning on a lathe.
- Architecture a. A centering.b. A point in space equidistant from all the points on an arch or on a portion of an arch.
verbcen·tered, cen·ter·ing, cen·ters
- To place in or at the center: centered the vase on the table.
- To direct toward a center or central point; concentrate or focus: tried to center the discussion on the main issues.
- Sports a. To pass (a ball or puck) toward the center of a playing area.b. To play as a center on (a line), as in ice hockey.
- Football To hike (the ball) to begin a down.
- To be concentrated; cluster: The epidemic centered in the urban areas.
- To have a central theme or concern; be focused: Her novels center on the problems of adolescence.
- Sports To play as a center.
Origin of centerMiddle English centre from Old French from Latin centrum from Greek kentron center of a circle from kentein to prick ; see kent- in Indo-European roots.
Usage Note: As a verb center can represent various relations involving having, finding, or turning about a center. The choice of a preposition to accompany center depends on the meaning one wants to convey. For certain physical uses, the Usage Panel favors in more than at. In our 1996 ballot, 73 percent found in acceptable, but only 23 percent accepted at in the sentence The company has been centered (in/at) Atlanta for the last five years. • In figurative contexts, there is ample evidence for center in, on, upon, and around. In our 2006 survey, for example, 91 percent of the Panel accepted center on in the sentence The discussion centered on the need for curriculum reform. Some language critics have denounced center around as illogical—if something is in the center, after all, it cannot be “around” something else. Nonetheless, 71 percent of the Usage Panel accepted center around in the 1996 survey, suggesting that, logical or not, center around must be considered a standard idiom. But if the expression does not seem a comfortable fit, revolve around offers itself as a substitute that clearly evokes an orbiting body. See Usage Note at equal.
- The point in the interior of a circle or sphere that is equidistant from all points on the circumference. [from 14th c.]
- The middle portion of something; the part well away from the edges.
- (geometry) The point on a line that is midway between the ends.
- (geometry) The point in the interior of any figure of any number of dimensions that has as its coordinates the arithmetic mean of the coordinates of all points on the perimeter of the figure (of all points in the interior for a center of volume).
- A place where some function or activity occurs.
- shopping center
- convention center
- A topic that is particularly important in a given context.
- the center of the controversy
- the center of attention
- (basketball) The player, generally the tallest, who plays closest to the basket.
- (ice hockey) The forward that generally plays between the left wing and right wing and usually takes the faceoffs.
- (American football) The person who holds the ball at the beginning of each play.
- (Canadian football) The person who holds the ball at the beginning of each play.
- (netball) A player who can go all over the court, except the shooting circles.
- (soccer) A pass played into the centre of the pitch.
- (rugby) One of the backs operating in a central area of the pitch, either the inside centre or outside centre.
- (architecture) A temporary structure upon which the materials of a vault or arch are supported in position until the work becomes self-supporting.
- (engineering) One of the two conical steel pins in a lathe, etc., upon which the work is held, and about which it revolves.
- (engineering) A conical recess or indentation in the end of a shaft or other work, to receive the point of a center, on which the work can turn, as in a lathe.
- Of, at, or related to a center.
(third-person singular simple present centers, present participle centering, simple past and past participle centered)
- To cause (an object) to occupy the center of an area.
- To cause (some attribute, such as a mood or voltage) to be adjusted to a value which is midway between the extremes.
- (intransitive) To concentrate on (something), to pay close attention to (something).
- (engineering) To form a recess or indentation for the reception of a center.
The spelling centre is standard in UK English. In Canada it is typical in proper names, e.g. Toronto Centre for the Arts, but "center" is also commonly used otherwise, e.g. shopping center, center of town. Both spellings can be encountered even in the same text, e.g. in NHL hockey where there are many Canadian and US teams, reference might be made to the "center" forward position and a "centre" where a game is played.
Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary observes that center around is objected to by some people on the grounds that it is illogical, but states that it is an idiom, and thus that such objections are irrelevant. It offers revolve around as an alternative to center around for those who would avoid the idiom.