I have seen this word being used many times, following it usually, but not always terrible English. Is it a proper use?

One example: http://libopencm3.org/docs/latest/stm32l1/html/group__i2c__defines.html Here the documentation points a file (and many other on the left) which include various definitions, and files are called '... defines'


You will see this kind of thing in some software areas: inserts, deletes, etc.

In "ordinary" English these are not traditionally considered words. But in the realm of software, at least, such words are common, including in technical documentation. And language evolves...

No doubt the same is true for defines. Typically such a use comes from the existence of a programming keyword (in this case, "define" or "DEFINE"). It is natural to talk about code that uses it as a define etc.

As for whether using such a term is "proper": that's primarily opinion-based. Proper to whom, in what context, etc.

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  • Indeed. Here (in the link in the question), it appears that 'Defines' is used as the plural of '#define'. Also (example): "How to define a define that defines some defines ?" – Řídící Apr 9 '17 at 19:11
  • How about proper to core structure of English? I mean like the way 'definitions' is proper. Also defines being plural of '#define' makes sense, but is referring to definitions (of anything) with 'defines' proper in common English? Or if that's also opinion-based, as a non-native speaker I would like to know if it sounds right to you. Because to me it does not :) – MuhsinFatih Apr 9 '17 at 19:22
  • I tend to call them “pound defines” or “definitions” but not just defines unless I’m feeling very lazy and the context is already well -established. – Jim Apr 9 '17 at 20:36
  • @MuhsinFatih: Sorry, but I don't understand what you are asking in your comment. What do you mean by "proper" and "core structure of English", for example? – Drew Apr 9 '17 at 20:37
  • @Drew I'm sorry thats my bad, thats actually two questions in the comment :) "core structure of English": well I made this up, I meant grammar, couldn't remember the word, sorry :) "proper" should be more clear now I hope. So I guess it's grammatically wrong, and as Jim mentioned it is not very natural to say "defines" in common English, but not absurd either as I understand. Am I right? – MuhsinFatih Apr 9 '17 at 22:04

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