center


center
center n Center, middle, midst, core, hub, focus, nucleus, heart are comparable when meaning the point, spot, or portion of a thing which is comparable to a point around which a circle is described.
Center approximates more or less closely its strict geometrical sense as the point within a circle or sphere that is equidistant from every other point on the circumference or is the average distance from the exterior points of a body or figure
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the center of a table

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the center of the earth

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Center may be extended to a thing or a part of a thing wh'ich suggests a geometrical center especially in being the point around which the rest rotates or revolves
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each airy thought revolved round a substantial centerWordsworth

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the old school was the center of our lives, somehow: dances, socials, Sunday services— McCourt

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or at which all lines (as of activity) converge
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draw to one point, and to one center bring beast, man, or angel, servant, lord, or king— Pope

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or from which every line, or branch radiates
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a railroad center

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a power center

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or which lies midway between extremes
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in Europe a party of moderate views, neither conservative nor radical, is often called the center

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Middle is less precise than center and suggests a space rather than a point ; it is the part of an object which includes and surrounds the center; thus, the middle of a room is the central portion of it
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they have what they call a central depot here, because it's the middle of England— Bennett

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Middle, unlike center, also applies to what has duration
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the middle of the night

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and to merely linear extension
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the middle of the road

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Middle may be applied freely to something which lies between the beginning and end (as of a process, a course, or a piece of work)
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in this, as in most questions of state, there is a middleBurke

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he was stopped in the middle of his speech

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a play should have a beginning, middle, and end

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Midst is often used in place of middle for a point or spot well within a group or number of enveloping persons or objects or of things (as duties, affairs, and burdens) that surround or beset one; however it seldom occurs except in a prepositional phrase introduced by in, into, from, out of
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he stood in the midst of a crowd

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he penetrated into the midst of the forest

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why it was he should feel in the midst of all these people so utterly detached and so lonely— Bromfield

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sense of right, uppermost in the midst of fiercest strife— Wordsworth

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Core basically denotes the central portion of certain fruits (as the apple) which is made up of papery or leathery envelopes containing seeds and is often extended to something that similarly lies at the center of a thing and that resembles an apple core in being unconsumed or unused
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the core is the unburnt portion of a coal or of a lump of lime

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or in forming a firm central mass in a growth
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the core of a boil

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or in having a different character from that which surrounds or encloses it
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a corncob is the core of an ear of Indian corn

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in cabinetmaking soft wood on which veneers are glued is called a core

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or often in being the very center of a thing's life, significance, or power
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I will wear him in my heart's core, ay, in my heart of heart— Shak.

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the Romans . . . proved rebellious to the idea that living is an art; yet it may well be that they still retained that idea at the core of their morality— Ellis

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a hard core of perhaps ten percent who have been in the Party for fifteen years— Schlesinger b. 1917

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Hub, which primarily denotes the central and usually solid part of a wheel from which the spokes radiate and which rotates on (or with) the axle, is often extended to a place, person, or thing on which other places, persons, or things depend for their life, activity, ideas, or progress
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Boston Statehouse is the hub of the solar system— Holmes

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Focus is applicable to a point of convergence or concentration or, sometimes, in nontechnical use, of emanation; thus, the point at which rays of light meet after reflection or refraction is called a focus; a person to whom all eyes are turned is the focus of attention
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a place of exchange for the merchandise of East and West ... the focus of a network of trade routes— Buchan

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Nucleus applies especially to a vital and usually small and stable center about which matter is gathered or concentrated or to which accretions are made
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the nucleus of a cell

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the nucleus of an atom

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a small but good collection of books as a nucleus for his library

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unable to re-create a satisfactory social group from the nucleus of his own individuality— Day Lewis

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Heart applies to a place or thing that lies well within something (as a region or system) and which determines the essential character of the whole or serves as a vital, positive, or motivating part
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the economic heart of the nation has gradually shifted to the west

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exploits done in the heart of France— Shak.

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Rome was the heart and pulse of the empire— Buchan

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the discernment and under-standing with which he penetrates to the heart and essence of the problem— Cardozo

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Contrasted words: *circumference, periphery, perimeter, compass: bounds, confines, limits (see singular nouns at LIMIT)
center vb Center, focus, centralize, concentrate are comparable (though not closely synonymous) because all mean to draw to or fix upon a center.
Center strongly implies a point upon which things turn or depend; typically the term is followed by a prepositional phrase (as with in, on, or upon) that names the thing (or sometimes the person) upon which all responsibility or all attention is placed or around which anything or everything of a specified kind (as hopes, fears, or joys) turns
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the authority was centered in one person

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the incident upon which the plot centers

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a common belief about art is that it centers about emotion— Alexander

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the man whose hopes and fears are all centered upon himself can hardly view death with equanimity, since it extinguishes his whole emotional universe— Russell

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Focus implies a point at which a number and usually the total number of things of the same sort (as rays of light, waves of sound, attentions, or interests) converge and become one
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the attention of the audience was focused upon the speaker

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the essential characteristic of poetry is its power of focusing the whole range of our sensibilities— Binyon

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how to get the sense of equity or fair play which prevails in many other spheres of action to focus upon these . . . disturbing economic questions is thus distinctively a moral issue— Hobsori

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Centralize is used of things (as government, authority, or administrative procedure) that may be either gathered about a center or divided, distributed, or diffused; it especially implies the placing of power and authority under one head or in one central organization or the bringing together of similar things at one point
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authority is said to be centralized wherever a manager tends not to delegate authority to his subordinates— Koontz & O'Donnell

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the supporters -of reorganization point out that the centralized type of administrative organization has worked well with the national government, with the better- governed cities, and with American business— Dimond & Pflieger

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by centralizing . . . the reserves of the member banks within a district, the Federal Reserve System builds up a large sum of money and credit upon which any member bank may call— Goodman & Moore

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Concentrate differs from the other words not only in being more widely applicable but also in its greater emphasis upon human skill and human methods, discipline, or effort in effecting its purpose; the word may be used not only with reference to what may be centralized or focused and to much that may be centered but is applicable also to material substances that can be reduced in volume (as by dehydration or evaporation), thereby gaining in strength or intensity (see also COMPACT)
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here Hannibal . . . concentrated the forces which had been gathered from such distant countries— R. B. Smith

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but neither of the men paid much attention to these things, their eyes being concentrated upon the little flat stone— Hardy

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I think that it is a test which we may apply to all figure-painters ... if we ask whether the figures are really occupied by what they are doing, if the movements of the body are concentrated on the particular business of the moment— Binyon

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Analogous words: *depend, hinge, hang, turn: rest, *base, ground

New Dictionary of Synonyms. 2014.

Look at other dictionaries:

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