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1. an expanse of open or cleared ground, esp. a piece of land suitable or used for pasture or tillage.
a. a piece of ground devoted to sports or contests; playing field.
b. (in betting) all the contestants or numbers that are grouped together as one: to bet on the field in a horse race.
c. (in football) the players on the playing ground.
d. the area in which field events are held.
a. the team in the field, as opposed to the one at bat.
b. the outfield.
4. a sphere of activity, interest, etc., esp. within a particular business or profession: the field of teaching; the field of Shakespearean scholarship.
5. the area or region drawn on or serviced by a business or profession; outlying areas where business activities or operations are carried on, as opposed to a home or branch office: our representatives in the field.
6. a job location remote from regular workshop facilities, offices, or the like.
a. the scene or area of active military operations.
b. a battleground.
c. a battle.
d. Informal.an area located away from the headquarters of a commander.
8. an expanse of anything: a field of ice.
9. any region characterized by a particular feature, resource, activity, etc.: a gold field.
10. the surface of a canvas, shield, etc., on which something is portrayed: a gold star on a field of blue.
11. (in a flag) the ground of each division.
12. Physics.the influence of some agent, as electricity or gravitation, considered as existing at all points in space and defined by the force it would exert on an object placed at any point in space. Cf. electric field, gravitational field, magnetic field.
13. Also called field of view. Optics.the entire angular expanse visible through an optical instrument at a given time.
14. Elect.the structure in a generator or motor that produces a magnetic field around a rotating armature.
15. Math.a number system that has the same properties relative to the operations of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division as the number system of all real numbers; a commutative division ring.
16. Photog.the area of a subject that is taken in by a lens at a particular diaphragm opening.
17. Psychol.the total complex of interdependent factors within which a psychological event occurs and is perceived as occurring.
a. one or more related characters treated as a unit and constituting part of a record, for purposes of input, processing, output, or storage by a computer: If the hours-worked field is blank or zero, the program does not write a check for that employee.
b. (in a punch card) any number of columns regularly used for recording the same information.
19. Television.one half of the scanning lines required to form a complete television frame. In the U.S., two fields are displayed in 1/30 second: all the odd-numbered lines in one field and all the even lines in the next field. Cf. frame (def. 9).
20. Numis.the blank area of a coin, other than that of the exergue.
21. Fox Hunting.the group of participants in a hunt, exclusive of the master of foxhounds and his staff.
22. Heraldry.the whole area or background of an escutcheon.
23. in the field,
a. in actual use or in a situation simulating actual use or application; away from a laboratory, workshop, or the like: The machine was tested for six months in the field.
b. in contact with a prime source of basic data: The anthropologist is working in the field in Nigeria.
c. within a given profession: The public knows little of him, but in the field he's known as a fine mathematician.
24. keep the field, to remain in competition or in battle; continue to contend: The troops kept the field under heavy fire.
25. out in left field. See left field (def. 3).
26. play the field, Informal.
a. to vary one's activities.
b. to date a number of persons rather than only one: He wanted to play the field for a few years before settling down.
27. take the field,
a. to begin to play, as in football or baseball; go into action.
b. to go into battle: They took the field at dawn.
1. Baseball, Cricket.
a. to catch or pick up (the ball) in play: The shortstop fielded the grounder and threw to first for the out.
b. to place (a player, group of players, or a team) in the field to play.
2. to place in competition: to field a candidate for governor.
3. to answer or reply skillfully: to field a difficult question.
4. to put into action or on duty: to field police cars to patrol an area.
—v.i. Baseball, Cricket.
1. to act as a fielder; field the ball.
2. to take to the field.
a. of, taking place, or competed for on the field and not on the track, as the discus throw or shot put.
b. of or pertaining to field events.
2. Mil.of or pertaining to campaign and active combat service as distinguished from service in rear areas or at headquarters: a field soldier.
3. of or pertaining to a field.
4. grown or cultivated in a field.
5. working in the fields of a farm: field laborers.
6. working as a salesperson, engineer, representative, etc., in the field: an insurance company's field agents.
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1. Cyrus West, 1819–92, U.S. financier: projector of the first Atlantic cable.
2. David Dudley, Jr., 1805–94, U.S. jurist (brother of Cyrus West and Stephen Johnson Field).
3. Erastus Salisbury, 1805–1900, U.S. painter.
4. Eugene, 1850–95, U.S. poet and journalist.
5. John, 1782–1837, Irish pianist and composer.
6. Marshall, 1834–1906, U.S. merchant and philanthropist.
7. Stephen Johnson, 1816–99, U.S. jurist: associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court 1863–97 (brother of Cyrus West and David Dudley Field).
Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.