AskDefine | Define structure

Dictionary Definition



1 a thing constructed; a complex construction or entity; "the structure consisted of a series of arches"; "she wore her hair in an amazing construction of whirls and ribbons" [syn: construction]
2 the manner of construction of something and the arrangement of its parts; "artists must study the structure of the human body"; "the structure of the benzene molecule"
3 the complex composition of knowledge as elements and their combinations; "his lectures have no structure"
4 a particular complex anatomical structure; "he has good bone structure" [syn: anatomical structure, complex body part, bodily structure, body structure]
5 the people in a society considered as a system organized by a characteristic pattern of relationships; "the social organization of England and America is very different"; "sociologists have studied the changing structure of the family" [syn: social organization, social organisation, social structure, social system] v : give a structure to; "I need to structure my days"

User Contributed Dictionary



  • /ˈstrʌkʃɜr/
  • /"strVkS3r/


  1. A cohesive whole built up of distinct parts.
    The birds had built an amazing structure out of sticks and various discarded items.
  2. The underlying shape of a solid.
    He studied the structure of her face.
  3. The overall form or organization of something.
    The structure of a sentence.
    The structure of the society was still a mystery.
  4. A set of rules defining behaviour.
    For some, the structure of school life was oppressive.
  5. In the context of "computing": Several pieces of data treated as a unit.
    This structure contains both date and timezone information.
  6. In the context of "fishing|uncountable": Underwater terrain or objects (such as a dead tree or a submerged car) that tend to attract fish
    There's lots of structure to be fished along the west shore of the lake; the impoundment submerged a town there when it was built.
  7. A body, such as a political party, with a cohesive purpose or outlook.
    The South African leader went off to consult with the structures.


a cohesive whole built up of distinct parts
  • Finnish: rakennelma
  • Hungarian: szerkezet
  • Icelandic: bygging
the underlying shape of a solid
  • Finnish: rakenne
the overall form or organization of something
  • Finnish: rakenne
a set of rules defining behaviour
  • Finnish: järjestelmä
(computing) several pieces of data treated as a unit
  • Finnish: rakenne
(fishing) underwater terrain or objects
a body, such as a political party, with a cohesive purpose or outlook
  • Hungarian: szervezet


  1. To give structure to; to arrange.
    I'm trying to structure my time better so I'm not always late.
    I've structured the deal to limit the amount of money we can lose.


(transitive) to give structure to; to arrange

Extensive Definition

Structure is a fundamental and sometimes intangible notion covering the recognition, observation, nature, and stability of patterns and relationships of entities. From a child's verbal description of a snowflake, to the detailed scientific analysis of the properties of magnetic fields, the concept of structure is an essential foundation of nearly every mode of inquiry and discovery in science, philosophy, and art.

Types of structure

Abstract structure

An abstract structure is an informal object that is defined by a set of laws, properties, and relationships in a way that is logically if not always historically independent of the structures and their properties. An important example is a mathematical structure.

Biological structure

In biology, structures exist at all levels of organisation, ranging hierarchically from the atomic and molecular to the cellular, tissue, organ, organismic, population and ecosystem level. Usually, a higher-level structure is composed of multiple copies of a lower-level structure.

Chemical structure

Chemistry is the science treating matter at the atomic to macromolecular scale, the reactions, transformations and aggregations of matter, as well as accompanying energy and entropy changes during these processes. The chemical structure refers to both molecular geometry and to electronic structure. The structural formula of a chemical compound is a graphical representation of the molecular structure showing how the atoms are arranged. A protein structure is the three dimensional coordinates of the atoms within (macro) molecules made of protein.

Built structure

A structure usually refers to any large, man-made object permanently fixed to Earth's surface, as a result of construction. These are divided into buildings and nonbuilding structures, and make up the infrastructure of a human society. There are also animal-built structures, such as anthills and beaver dams.

Musical composition

Music is an art form consisting of sound and silence expressed through time. The term musical form, a type of structure, refers to two related concepts:
  • the type of composition (for example, a musical work can have the form of a symphony, a concerto, or other generic type)
  • the structure of a particular piece (for example, a piece can be written in binary form, sonata form, as a fugue, etc.)

Social structure

A social structure is a pattern of relations. They are social organization of individuals and various life. Structures are applicable to people in how a society is as a system organized by a characteristic pattern of relationships. This is known as the social organization of the group. Sociologists have studied the changing structure of theses groups. Structure and agency is the two confronted theories about human behaviour. The debate surrounding the influence of structure and agency on human thought and behaviour is one of the central issues in sociology. In this context "agency" refers to the capacity of individual humans to act independently and to make their own free choices. "Structure" here to those factors such as social class, religion, gender, ethnicity, customs etc. which seem to limit or influence the opportunities that individuals have.
structure in Arabic: بنية
structure in Catalan: Estructura
structure in Czech: Struktura
structure in German: Struktur
structure in Spanish: Estructura
structure in Esperanto: Strukturo
structure in French: Structure
structure in Indonesian: Struktur
structure in Italian: Struttura
structure in Lithuanian: Struktūra
structure in Hungarian: Struktúra
structure in Macedonian: Структура
structure in Dutch: Structuur
structure in Japanese: 構造
structure in Polish: Struktura
structure in Russian: Структура
structure in Simple English: Structure
structure in Slovak: Štruktúra (usporiadanie entít)
structure in Tamil: கட்டமைப்பு
structure in Yiddish: סטרוקטור

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Dymaxion house, IC analysis, Platonic form, Platonic idea, White House, action, adobe house, aesthetic form, anagnorisis, anatomy, angle, appositive, archetype, architectonics, architecture, argument, arrange, arrangement, array, art form, assemblage, assemble, assembly, atmosphere, attribute, attributive, background, build, build up, building, buildup, casa, cast, catastrophe, character, characterization, clarity, clear-cutness, clearness, cliff dwelling, coherence, color, combination, combine, complement, complex, complication, compose, composition, compound, concord, configuration, conformation, connectedness, consist of, consistency, constitute, constitution, construct, construction, construction modifier, consulate, continuity, contrivance, cool off, country house, country seat, crystallinity, cut, cutting, dacha, deanery, deep structure, definition, denouement, deploy, deployment, design, development, device, direct object, directness, disposal, dispose, disposition, distinctness, dwelling house, edifice, embassy, embodiment, embody, enter into, episode, erection, establishment, explicitness, fable, fabric, fabricate, fabrication, falling action, farm, farmhouse, fashion, fashioning, feel, figuration, figure, filler, finish, form, form-function unit, format, formation, frame, framework, function, genre, getup, gimmick, go into, grade, grain, granular texture, hall, harmonize, harmony, hierarchize, house, houseboat, immediate constituent analysis, impression, incident, incorporate, incorporation, indentation, indirect object, inner form, join, junction, knub, lake dwelling, lay out, layout, levels, limpidity, line, line up, lineup, living machine, local color, lodge, lucidity, make, make up, makeup, manor house, manse, marshal, marshaling, matrix, merge in, methodize, mix, mixture, modality, mode, model, modifier, mold, mood, morphology, motif, movement, mythos, nap, nature, network, normalize, nub, object, order, organization, organize, pacify, packaged house, parsonage, pattern, peace, pellucidity, penthouse, peripeteia, perspicuity, phrase structure, piece together, piecing together, pile, pit, plain English, plain speech, plain style, plainness, plan, plot, pock, predicate, prefab, prefabricated house, prefabrication, presidential palace, proportion, prototype, protuberance, put together, putting together, pyramid, qualifier, quiet, quietude, ranch house, rank, ranks, recognition, rectory, regularity, regularize, regulate, rising action, roof, routine, routinize, scheme, secondary plot, set, set up, setup, shag, shallow structure, shape, shaping, significant form, simplicity, skeleton, skyscraper, slant, slot, slot and filler, sod house, split-level, stamp, standardize, story, straightforwardness, strata, structuring, style, subject, subplot, superstructure, surface, surface structure, surface texture, switch, symmetry, syneresis, syntactic analysis, syntactic structure, syntactics, syntax, synthesis, synthesize, system, systematize, tagmeme, texture, thematic development, theme, tone, topic, tower, town house, tranquilize, tranquillity, transparency, transpicuity, turn, twist, type, unadorned style, unambiguousness, underlying structure, unequivocalness, uniformity, unite in, unmistakableness, vicarage, wale, weave, woof, word arrangement, word order
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