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See also: Center


Alternative forms[edit]




center (plural centers) (American spelling) (Canadian spelling, alternative)

  1. The point in the interior of a circle that is equidistant from all points on the circumference. [from 14th c.]
    • 1908, Euclid, translated by Thomas L. Heath, Elements, III.9:
      If a point be taken within a circle, and more than two equal straight lines fall from the point on the circle, the point taken is the centre of the circle.
  2. The point in the interior of a sphere that is equidistant from all points on the circumference. [from 14th c.]
    • 2005 June 4, David Adam, The Guardian:
      Japanese scientists are to explore the centre of the Earth. Using a giant drill ship launched next month, the researchers aim to be the first to punch a hole through the rocky crust that covers our planet and to reach the mantle below.
  3. The middle portion of something; the part well away from the edges.
    1. (obsolete) The innermost point of the Earth, or the Earth itself, as the center or foundation of the Universe; the center or foundation of the Universe abstractly.
  4. (geometry) The point on a line that is midway between the ends.
  5. (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 (or of all points in the interior for a center of volume).
  6. (group theory, ring theory) The subgroup (respectively, subring), denoted Z(G), of those elements of a given group (respectively, ring) G that commute with every element of G.
  7. A place, especially a building or complex, set aside for some specified function or activity.
    shopping center, convention center, civic center, garment center, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Rockefeller Center
  8. (politics) The ensemble of moderate or centrist political parties.
  9. The venue in which the head of government in a centralized state is situated.
    • 2018, Pál Fodor, The Business of State. Ottoman Finance Administration and Ruling Elites in Transition (1580s–1615) (Studien zur Sprache, Geschichte und Kultur der Turkvölker; 28), Berlin: Klaus Schwarz Verlag × De Gruyter, published 2020, →DOI, →ISBN, page 50:
      In Anatolia tensions between state officials (ehl-i örf) and the peasants were strained to breaking point.
      At several places—particularly in the frontier provinces—there were fierce clashes between the janissaries stationed there and the governors. In Aleppo and Damascus incidents were common after 1589: the kuls threw rocks at the beylerbeyi’s house, killed people, broke into the divan several times and took the money prepared by the council for remittance to the centre.
  10. A topic that is particularly important in a given context, the element in a subject of cognition, volition or discussion that is perceived as decisive.
    the center of the controversy
    the center of attention
  11. (sports) A player in the middle of a playing area.
    1. (basketball) The player, generally the tallest, who plays closest to the basket.
    2. (ice hockey) The forward that generally plays between the left wing and right wing and usually takes the faceoffs.
    3. (American football, Canadian football) The person who holds the ball at the beginning of each play.
    4. (netball) A player who can go all over the court, except the shooting circles.
    5. (soccer) A pass played into the centre of the pitch.
      • 2010 December 28, Owen Phillips, “Sunderland 0 - 2 Blackpool”, in BBC[1]:
        Bent twice sent efforts wide of the far post after cutting in from the left, Wellbeck missed his kick from an inviting centre and failed to get on the end of a looping pass when six yards out.
    6. (rugby) One of the backs operating in a central area of the pitch, either the inside centre or outside centre.
      • 2011 February 4, Gareth Roberts, “Wales 19-26 England”, in BBC[2]:
        Gatland's side got back to within striking distance when fly-half Jones's clever pass sent centre Jonathan Davies arcing round Shontayne Hape.
  12. A certain mechanical implement functioning in the middle of a whole apparatus
    1. (architecture) A temporary structure upon which the materials of a vault or arch are supported in position until the work becomes self-supporting.
    2. (engineering) One of the two conical steel pins in a lathe, etc., upon which the work is held, and about which it revolves.
    3. (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.
    4. (Australia, New Zealand) The ring in the gambling game two-up in which the spinner operates.



Derived terms[edit]


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.


center (not comparable) (American spelling)

  1. Of, at, or related to a center.




center (third-person singular simple present centers, present participle centering, simple past and past participle centered) (American spelling)

  1. (transitive) To cause (an object) to occupy the center of an area.
    • ????, Matthew Prior, Celia to Damon
      Thy joys are centred all in me alone.
    He centered the heading of the document.
  2. (transitive) To cause (some attribute, such as a mood or voltage) to be adjusted to a value which is midway between the extremes.
  3. (transitive) To give (something) a central basis.
    • 2012, Michael Kaminski et al., chapter 7, in Myth, Media, and Culture in Star Wars: An Anthology, page 87:
      However, Lucas also centered the plot around the protection of the secret Death Star plans, which now filled the role of the clan treasure the enemy is seeking in Hidden Fortress; []
  4. (intransitive) To concentrate on (something), to pay close attention to (something).
    The plot centers on the life of a working-class family.
    The discussion centered around the recent issues.
  5. (engineering) To form a recess or indentation for the reception of a center.

Usage notes[edit]

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.

The indirect object of the intransitive verb is given the prepositions on, in, at, or around. At is primary used only in mathematical contexts. 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.

Related terms[edit]


Further reading[edit]




center m (plural centers)

  1. (baseball) center



Ultimately from Latin centrum. Doublet of centrum.


center c or n

  1. (neuter) a centre; a place where some function or activity occurs
    Synonym: centrum
  2. (common, uncountable, politics) the political centre, parties and politicians in between the left and right wings
  3. (common, sports) a centre; midplayer of a team


Declension of center 
Singular Plural
Indefinite Definite Indefinite Definite
Nominative center centret center centren
Genitive centers centrets centers centrens
Declension of center 2
Indefinite Definite
Nominative center centern
Genitive centers centerns
Declension of center 3
Singular Plural
Indefinite Definite Indefinite Definite
Nominative center centern centrar centrarna
Genitive centers centerns centrars centrarnas

Related terms[edit]