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.
a. A battleground.
b. Archaic A battle.
c. The scene or an area of military operations or maneuvers: officers in the field.
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.
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.
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.
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; field of view.
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.
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
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.
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.
To play as a fielder: How well can he field?
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 ©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.