In the Wikipedia Article "Lobbying" there is such a sentence:

Governments often define and regulate organized group lobbying that has become influential.

What does 'define' mean in this sentence? Whether a lobbying is influential or not is about how it comes out rather than how you define it, so it doesn't need any organisation to make a definition or something, right?

I think the sentence might mean governments often make a list of influential lobbyings and regulate them but I'm not sure.

  • That is simply evidence for the proposition that taking usage cues from Wikipedia is not a good idea as that is a particularly poorly worded sentence. Sep 16, 2022 at 4:35

1 Answer 1


The quoted sentence is part of the Lead section of the Wikipedia article, which is supposed to summarize the article as a whole. It is also poorly written, in my view. I believe it was derived from the later sentence:

Governments often[quantify] define and regulate organized group lobbying as part of laws to prevent political corruption and by establishing transparency about possible influences by public lobby registers.

In that sentence, "define" clearly means to specify what activities Are legally "Lobbying" and are subject to the laws and regulations. Note that in legal writing, "define" is often used to mean "specify a legal category, for example:

Congress shall have the power to define and punish felonies.

I am about to edit the first sentence out of the article.

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