1. 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.
3. A point around which something rotates or revolves: The sun is the center of our solar system.
4. 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.
6. A person or thing that is the chief object of attention, interest, activity, or emotion.
7. A person, object, or group occupying a middle position.
8. often Center A political group or a set of policies representing a moderate view between those of the right and the left.
9. Physiology A group of neurons in the central nervous system that control a particular function: the vasomotor center.
10. Sports A player who holds a middle position on the field, court, or forward line in some team sports, such as football and basketball.
11. 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.
13. Architecture A centering.
v. cen·tered, cen·ter·ing, cen·ters
1. To place in or at the center: centered the vase on the table.
2. To direct toward a center or central point; concentrate or focus: tried to center the discussion on the main issues.
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.
4. Football To pass (the ball) back between the legs to begin a down.
1. To be concentrated; cluster: The epidemic centered in the urban areas.
2. To have a central theme or concern; be focused: Her novels center on the problems of adolescence.
3. Sports To play as a center.
[Middle 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.]
Synonyms: center, focus, headquarters, heart, hub, seat
These nouns refer to a region, person, or thing around which some activity is concentrated: a great cultural center; the focus of research efforts; the headquarters of a multinational corporation; a town that is the heart of the colony; the hub of a steel empire; the seat of government.
Traditionally, the verb center
may be freely used with the prepositions on, upon, in,
but some language critics have denounced its use with around
as illogical or physically impossible. But the fact that writers persist in using this phrase in sentences such as The discussion centered around the need for curriculum reform,
a sentence that 71 percent of the Usage Panel accepts, suggests that many people perceive center around
to best represent the true nature of what they are trying to say. Indeed, in an example like A storm of controversy centered around the king,
the only appropriate choice seems to be around.
Still, if one wishes to avoid the phrase center around,
the phrase revolve around
is available as an option. Since center
can represent various relations involving having, finding, or turning about a center, the choice of a preposition depends on what is intended. There is ample evidence for usages with each preposition listed above. The Panel accepts all of these uses except the one with at.
Seventy-seven percent reject the sentence The company has been centered at Atlanta for the last five years.
See Usage Note at equal