v. de·cid·ed, de·cid·ing, de·cides
a. To reach a conclusion or form a judgment or opinion about (something) by reasoning or consideration: decide what to do.
b. To cause to make or reach a decision: "The presence of so many witnesses decided him at once to flee" (Robert Louis Stevenson).
2. To settle conclusively all contention or uncertainty about: decide a case; decided the dispute in favor of the workers.
3. To influence or determine the outcome of: A few votes decided the election.
1. To pronounce a judgment; announce a verdict.
2. To reach a decision; make up one's mind.
[Middle English deciden, from Old French decider, from Latin dēcīdere, to cut off, decide : dē-, de- + caedere, to cut; see kaə-id- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
Synonyms: decide, determine, settle, rule, conclude, resolve
These verbs mean to come to a decision about. Decide has the broadest range: The judge will decide the case on its merits. We decided to postpone our vacation for a week.
Determine has a similar range but often involves somewhat narrower issues: The doctor determined the cause of the infection. The jury will determine the fate of the defendant.
Settle stresses finality of decision: "The lama waved a hand to show that the matter was finally settled in his mind" (Rudyard Kipling).
Rule implies that the decision is handed down by someone in authority: The committee ruled that changes in the curriculum should be implemented.
Conclude suggests that a decision, opinion, or judgment has been arrived at after careful consideration: She concluded that the criticism was unjust.
Resolve stresses the exercise of choice in making a firm decision: I resolved to lose weight.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.