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field (fēld)
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n.
1.
a. A broad, level, open expanse of land.
b. A meadow: cows grazing in a field.
c. A cultivated expanse of land, especially one devoted to a particular crop: a field of corn.
d. A portion of land or a geologic formation containing a specified natural resource: a copper field.
e. A wide unbroken expanse, as of ice.
2.
a. A battleground.
b. Archaic A battle.
c. The scene or an area of military operations or maneuvers: officers in the field.
3.
a. A background area, as on a flag, painting, or coin: a blue insignia on a field of red.
b. Heraldry The background of a shield or one of the divisions of the background.
4.
a. An area or setting of practical activity or application outside an office, school, factory, or laboratory: biologists working in the field; a product tested in the field.
b. An area or region where business activities are conducted: sales representatives in the field.
5. Sports
a. An area in which an athletic event takes place, especially the area inside or near to a running track, where field events are held.
b. In baseball, the positions on defense or the ability to play defense: She excels in the field.
c. In baseball, one of the three sections of the outfield: He can hit to any field.
6. A range, area, or subject of human activity, interest, or knowledge: several fields of endeavor.
7.
a. The contestants or participants in a competition or athletic event, especially those other than the favorite or winner.
b. The body of riders following a pack of hounds in hunting.
c. The people running in an election for a political office: The field has been reduced to three candidates.
8. Mathematics A set of elements having two operations, designated addition and multiplication, satisfying the conditions that multiplication is distributive over addition, that the set is a group under addition, and that the elements with the exception of the additive identity form a group under multiplication.
9. Physics A physical quantity in a region of space, such as gravitational force or fluid pressure, having a distinct value (scalar, vector, or tensor) at each point.
10. The usually circular area in which the image is rendered by the lens system of an optical instrument. Also called field of view.
11. Computers
a. An element of a database record in which one piece of information is stored.
b. A space, as on an online form or request for information, that accepts the input of text: an address field.
adj.
1. Growing, cultivated, or living in fields or open land.
2. Made, used, or carried on in the field: field operations.
3. Working, operating, or active in the field: field representatives of a firm.
v. field·ed, field·ing, fields
v. tr.
1.
a. Sports To catch or pick up (a ball) and often make a throw to another player, especially in baseball.
b. To respond to or deal with: fielded tough questions from the press.
2.
a. Sports To place in the playing area: field a team.
b. To nominate in an election: field a candidate.
c. To put into action; deploy: field an army of campaign workers.
3. To enter (data) into a field.
v. intr.
Sports
To play as a fielder: How well can he field?
Idiom:
take the field
To begin or resume activity, as in a sport or military operations.

[Middle English feld, from Old English; see pelə-2 in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]

Synonyms: field, bailiwick, domain, province, realm, sphere, territory, turf
These nouns denote an area of activity, thought, study, or interest: the field of comparative literature; considers marketing to be her bailiwick; the domain of physics; the province of politics; the realm of constitutional law; a task within his assistant's sphere; the territory of historical research; bureaucrats interested only in protecting their turf.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2017 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 

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