Description

(redirected from defies description)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Financial.

description

Geometry the act of drawing a line or figure, such as an arc
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005

description

see THICK DESCRIPTION.
Collins Dictionary of Sociology, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2000
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Description

 

(also description operator or descriptive definition), a term in logic and linguistics designating special constructions that in formal languages play the role of proper and common nouns that are supplementary relative to the basic vocabulary. In natural languages this role is fulfilled by word combinations of the type “that … which … “and “such … that …” (in Russian, tot [ta] … , kotoryi [-aia] … and takoi [-aia]chto …) or by definite articles (definite description) and indefinite articles (indefinite description), respectively.

In logically and mathematically formalized languages, definite description operators, which are interpreted by the word combinations of the first type indicated above, are applied to formulas (predicates) that contain at least one free variable, which becomes “bound” in such cases, transforming the given expression into a designation of a single object, which is the value of the variable. For example, if P(x) is the predicate of x = log35, and t is the designation of the definite description operator, then ixP(x) is the descriptive noun of that single value of x for which P(x) is true. The existence and uniqueness of this object are necessary conditions for the applicability of the i-operator to the given expression and for the meaningfulness of the description. If the condition of uniqueness is not met, such a “definite” description is naturally regarded as an imprecise formulation of the indefinite description, which is interpreted by the word combination of the second type. Indefinite descriptions are precisely introduced by the so-called є-operator, which like the ı-operator, relates the dependent object to some property or relation, and by means of which it is also possible to obtain from the formulas of the corresponding calculation the object nouns (“є-terms”), with the sole difference that in order to use the є-operator neither proof of the uniqueness of the dependent object nor proof of its existence is necessary (that is, the object introduced by the є-operator, which “depends” on the assumption of its existence, is in a certain sense an “arbitrary object”). Special postulates (axioms, and sometimes also rules of derivation), which encode the formal behavior of the newly introduced formal objects (symbols) and which have the form of explicit definitions, are introduced into a given formalized language simultaneously with the joining to it of description operators. Under certain natural conditions, for a very extensive class of formal systems, the objects introduced by such expansions of the calculations are eliminated, so that the joining of a description to the system, which is extremely convenient for practical purposes, proves in this sense to be nonessential. This property, which is well known from natural languages in which descriptions serve to form synonymous expressions, also occurs for formalized languages, where the need for descriptions is due, roughly speaking, to the presence in them of a potentially infinite number of objects that have no proper nouns: like any other “abbreviations of speech,” descriptions are convenient but in principle are not necessary.

REFERENCES

Kleene, S. C. Vvedenie v metamatematiku. moscow, 1957. Section 74. (Translated from English.)
Freudenthal, H. Iazyk logiki. Moscow, 1969. Chapter 3, par. 25. (Translated from English.)

IU. A. GASTEV and M. M. NOVOSELOV


Description

 

one of the elements of literary narration, in which the author singles out some specific aspect of the narrative, such as the appearance of a person, the setting, or nature.

Static description interrupts the development of events, as in the extensive descriptions of a city or a house in H. Balzac or V. Hugo; it is used as a device for retarding the action. Dynamic description is ordinarily shorter; it is included within the events and does not stop the action, as in F. M. Dostoevsky or A. P. Chekhov. In poetry some works are partially or wholly descriptive, for example, I. A. Bunin’s narrative poem Fallen Leaves.


Description

 

(slovesnyi portret, “word portrait”), in criminalistics, a method of describing a person’s appearance to aid in the identification of the person by outward features. A special standardized terminology has been developed for descriptions on the basis of anatomic and anthropological data. Outward features are divided into two main groups: anatomic, such as height, build, and facial features; and functional, such as gait, bearing, and characteristic gestures. Anatomic features are described in terms of size, form, location, and color. Anomalies, which are called special features, are also noted: lameness, birthmarks, tattoos, and scars.

Descriptions are used in operative-search investigations and other expert work. They aid in the registration and identification of individuals, the search for wanted criminals or missing persons, and the determination of the identity of corpses and living persons.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
The whole body is loved and figures in the Song, and from the opening verse, "Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth!" The body is described as beautiful because it is the object of love, but an impossible object, an object which defies description. The descriptions are absurd, but we are not deterred.
Perhaps the best way to describe the forests of the East even today is to say that their diversity defies description - from the vast boreal forests of the north extending into Canada, to the white pine and northern hardwoods forests stretching from Maine to Minnesota, and south to the great swamps of the Everglades and the southern pine forests of the Atlantic and Gulf coasts.
The way this doubleheader regime has dealt with AIDS as a disease, with the rights of people with AIDS and with the whole context of sexuality and health is a moral shame so immense and a social crime so heinous that it almost defies description. The needless pain, the canceled lives and the broken promises inflicted on suffering and anxious millions will go down in the chronicles of this century of moral failures as one of the worst.
Even as I write this piece, the numbers game is reaching a crescendo that defies description. The two biggest losing parties have called another All Parties Conference, while petty bickering continues within Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf on portfolios and coalitions.
If we continue to flirt unhesitatingly with war, we will surely transform our earthly habitat into an inferno that defies description. Peace cannot be bullied into existence, Peace cannot be kept by force, it can only be achieved by understanding.
said of Mario Balotelli who has returned to Italy for aSeason-long loan with AC Milan after a campaign with Liverpool last year that Sadly, the same cannot be said of Mario Balotelli whohas returned to Italy for aSeasonlong loan with ac almost defies description.
The art almost defies description. The largest contributed art piece, "The Raven," currently at the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley, is by Pattie Young of New Plymouth, Idaho.
2 Bakary Sako defies description. Frustrating in the first half, scintillating in the second and dismissed in injury time, Sako was at the centre of everything.
The Daily Mail newspaper detailed the attack which is so brutal it almost defies description.
And from the beginning, she has developed a love and admiration for the city that defies description and expectation, as have innumerable Arabs and internationals done before her.
Barton felt the Ivorian - whose hairstyle simply defies description and no doubt will not be copied by any sane person - had dived and hauled the Arsenal striker to his feet.