5

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?

  • From a programming context, it looks like you are subclassing Camera:) – Jonas Jul 7 '17 at 6:54

10 Answers 10

3

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.

11

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."

  • 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
6

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

  • 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 . – James Waldby - jwpat7 Jul 9 '12 at 18:31
  • 1
    Enrich was the work I was looking for. – Dolev May 9 '18 at 12:20
2

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

  • 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? – Trident D'Gao 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
2

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

1

You are delineating the base definition. You can see the meaning here: Delineate

e.g. 1

delineate the steps to be taken by the government.

e.g. 2

He delineated his account to expedite the investigation.

0

You're augmenting your generic camera definition with details specific to the Nikon. If you were writing a spec you'd be fleshing it out (as Cesar says), and if you were writing a description you'd be refining it (as User19148 says).

0

In computer science, I would call this Extending the base description. So the definition for the 'D700 Nikon' extends the definition of the base camera.

It seems a bit ironic that extending means 'to stretch out' or 'enlarge' and we're talking about restricting the meaning. ... but then, by creating the definition of the 'D700 Nikon' we are expanding the base definition to greater specificity, like a snowflake?

(answering old questions seems like a good idea - because if they asked it then, and I'm searching now - it must be a recurring theme, eh?)

0

You specify the details of the camera. Specify, according to Merriam-Webster, is to:

to name or state explicitly or in detail.

  • That suggestion was already made in 2012. You could expand your answer, and show examples of usage that support it. – Mari-Lou A Jul 7 '17 at 7:09
-2

You might consider expound:

to explain something by talking about it in detail (Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary)

  • Please consider adding a relevant dictionary definition of expound (citing and, if possible, linking to the source) to your answer, to help readers see why your suggestion may be on point. – Sven Yargs Mar 18 '16 at 4:11

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