index: Meaning and Definition of


Pronunciation: (in'deks), [key]
— n., pl. v. -dex•es, -di•ces
  1. (in a nonfiction book, monograph, etc.) a more or less detailed alphabetical listing of names, places, and topics along with the numbers of the pages on which they are mentioned or discussed, usually included in or constituting the back matter.
  2. a sequential arrangement of material, esp. in alphabetical or numerical order.
  3. something used or serving to point out; a sign, token, or indication: a true index of his character.
  4. something that directs attention to some fact, condition, etc.; a guiding principle.
  5. a pointer or indicator in a scientific instrument.
  6. a piece of wood, metal, or the like, serving as a pointer or indicator.
    1. a value that identifies and is used to locate a particular element within a data array or table.
    2. a reference table that contains the keys or references needed to address data items.
  7. a sign in the shape of a hand with extended index finger, used to point out a particular note, paragraph, etc.
  8. a light, smooth cardboard stock.
  9. the forefinger.
  10. a number or formula expressing some property, ratio, etc., of something indicated: index of growth; index of intelligence.
  11. See
  12. See
    1. an exponent.
    2. the integer n in a radical &noverradic; defining the n-th root: &3overfullradicover; is a radical having index three.
    3. a subscript or superscript indicating the position of an object in a series of similar objects, as the subscripts 1, 2, and 3 in the series x1, x2, x3.
    4. Seewinding number.
  13. a leverlike regulator for a hairspring.
  14. (cap.)
    1. SeeIndex Librorum Prohibitorum.
    2. SeeIndex Expurgatorius.
  15. (usually cap.) any list of forbidden or otherwise restricted material deemed morally or politically harmful by authorities: an Index of disapproved books relating to Communism.
  16. See
    1. a table of contents.
    2. a preface or prologue.
  1. to provide with an index, as a book.
  2. to enter in an index, as a name or topic.
  3. to serve to indicate: warm breezes indexing the approach of spring.
  4. to place (a book) on an official list as politically or morally harmful: The commissar insisted on indexing the book.
  5. to rotate (work) on a milling machine in order to repeat the milling operation at a new position.
  6. to adjust (wages, taxes, etc.) automatically according to changes in the cost-of-living level or another economic indicator, esp. to offset inflation.
Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.
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