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What is the right word (verb) for a process of adding more details to something that's already been defined?

UPDATE:

Thank you for your answers!

The precise context is as follows:

I have a base entity which describes a whatever (very general) camera that has a few parts which are whatever lens, batteries, memory cards etc. This is what I referred to as "something that's already been defined". Now, I need to define a very real camera which is 'D700 Nikon' that has specific lens, batteries, etc. So I take my general definition and create a new definition by adding more details specific to the 'D700 Nikon' camera.

So the question is: what am I doing with the base definition?

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6 Answers 6

up vote 2 down vote accepted

The best I think of is "refine". From Wordnik:

v. To use precise distinctions and subtlety in thought or speech.

v. To improve in accuracy, delicacy, or excellence.

v. To affect nicety or subtlety in thought or language.

EDIT (AFTER THE QUESTION UPDATING)

"Specify" (from Wordnik):

v. To state explicitly or in detail: specified the amount needed.

v. To include in a specification.

v. To state as a condition: specified that they be included in the will.

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+1 for following up with question update! –  Mindwin Mar 27 at 13:07

It depends so much on the context, but I'd go with "elaborate."

As in:

… the National Weather Service … advised all citizens in New Orleans's water-filled neighborhoods “to take the necessary tools for survival.” The Weather Service elaborated: “Those going into attics should try to take an axe or hatchet with them so they can cut their way onto the roof to avoid drowning should rising flood waters continue to rise into the attic.” —Christopher Cooper & Robert Block, Diaster, 2006


In light of your updated question, I think you should also consider "illustrate" and "specify."

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When I've refreshed the page there was already your improved answer, which came to the same conclusion (specify). Sorry about that; with my phone I'm not very fast. –  user19148 Jul 9 '12 at 18:23
    
Don't worry about it, Carlo :-) –  Cool Elf Jul 10 '12 at 2:11

Enrich, enhance, embellish, ameliorate, or perfect would do.

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I think ameliorate doesn't work there. While dictionaries list To make better, to improve senses, the more-commonly understood senses are to heal; to solve a problem . –  jwpat7 Jul 9 '12 at 18:31

It depends on the precise context, but you might want to consider expand (on).

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Thanks Barrie, the precise context is as follows: I have a base entity which describes a whatever camera that has a few parts which are whatever lens, batteries, memory cards etc. This is what I referred to as "something that's already been defined". Now, I need to define a very real camera which is 'D700 Nikon' that has specific lens, batteries, etc. So I take my general definition and create a new definition by adding more details specific to the 'D700 Nikon' camera. So the question is: what am I doing with the base definition? –  271 Jul 9 '12 at 17:49
    
@bonomo: Then in that case I'd say you were expanding on it, or possibly that you were developing it or enlarging it. –  Barrie England Jul 9 '12 at 18:37
    
@bonomo: I think your specific case isn't exactly what most answers are addressing. Your "base entity" remains unchanged, and can equally well serve as the starting point for a more detailed specification of a 'D800 Nikon' camera, for example. It's not exactly a "household word", but I think what you're doing is particularising –  FumbleFingers Jul 9 '12 at 21:21

I'd use flesh out, especially for a definition that is being expanded with additional semantics.

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Expound is another word, if that helps at all.

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