demarcation

Definitions

Commerce

  • noun a clear definition of the responsibilities of each employee or category of employment

Computing

  • noun the process of showing the difference between two areas

Construction

Information & Library Science

  • noun a boundary or limit separating ideas or groups

Politics

  • noun the process of deciding on and setting the boundaries of a piece of land

Origin & History of “demarcation”

As its form and meaning would suggest, demarcation is indeed related to mark, but only in a distinctly roundabout way. The word comes, possibly via French, from Spanish demarcación, a derivative of the verb demarcar ‘mark out the boundaries of’, which in turn is descended ultimately from the same prehistoric Germanic ancestor as English mark ‘sign, trace’. It originally came into English in very specific application to the boundary line between the Spanish and Portuguese spheres of influence in the New world, as laid down by pope Alexander VI in a bull of 4 May 1493. In Spanish this was the linea de demarcación (in Portuguese, linha de demarcação). By the middle of the 18th century the word was being used in English in much more general contexts. The familiar modern phrase demarcation dispute, relating to inter-union squabbles, dates from the 1930s.
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