delineate

verb
de·​lin·​eate | \ di-ˈli-nē-ˌāt How to pronounce delineate (audio) , dē-\
delineated; delineating

Definition of delineate

transitive verb

1 : to describe, portray, or set forth with accuracy or in detail delineate a character in the story delineate the steps to be taken by the government
2a : to indicate or represent by drawn or painted lines
b : to mark the outline of lights delineating the narrow streets

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Other Words from delineate

delineator \ di-​ˈli-​nē-​ˌā-​tər How to pronounce delineator (audio) , dē-​ \ noun

Synonyms for delineate

Synonyms

define, outline, silhouette, sketch, trace

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Examples of delineate in a Sentence

He plants his skates millimeters outside the blue-tinted 44-square-foot arena that delineates the crease and refuses to budge … — Michael Farber, Sports Illustrated, 21 May 2007 Screenwriter Christopher Hampton introduces a large gallery of characters, subtly delineating the unspoken class biases that will keep Robbie, for all his confidence, charm and Cambridge education, an outsider. — David Ansen, Newsweek, 10 Dec. 2007 So Madrid finally ordered Onís to cut the best deal he could. The resulting Transcontinental (or Adams-Onís) Treaty of 1819 ceded Florida to the United States and delineated the boundary between American and Spanish territory all the way to the Pacific Ocean … — Walter A. McDougall, Promised Land, Crusader State, 1997 Privacy plays a unique role in American law. Although considered a core value by most citizens, it is not explicitly delineated as a protected right by the U.S. Constitution. — Edward A. Cavazos et al., Cyberspace and the Law, 1994 The report clearly delineates the steps that must be taken. The characters in the story were carefully delineated.
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Recent Examples on the Web

In a more perfect world, the Covington episode might be seen as an occasion usefully delineating who should not be employed in the media to interpret the world for the public. Holman W. Jenkins, WSJ, "How the News Became Fake," 25 Jan. 2019 The kids trotted along the new perimeter and set up small white marker flags, delineating for Millie the outline of what would soon be her confined space. C.j. Chivers, Popular Mechanics, "The Best Thing To Do When Your Dog Won't Stay," 24 Dec. 2018 Elsewhere, others were clustered together to delineate other obstacles to negotiate—a slalom course and so on. Jonathan M. Gitlin, Ars Technica, "Forget lap times; this car control class makes teen drivers safer," 6 Nov. 2018 Census data is used to apportion seats in the House of Representatives, draw state legislative districts and delineate school districts. Maria Sacchetti, Washington Post, "Amid crackdown, advocates for immigrants say citizenship question will spook census-takers," 16 Apr. 2018 After the Revolutionary War, the US and Britain signed the 1783 Treaty of Paris, which delineated the new boundaries between what belonged to Britain, and what belonged to the new country of the United States. Sophie Weiner, Popular Mechanics, "Why the U.S. Looks Like a Big, Green Grid From the Sky," 10 Nov. 2017 Birth charts are read counterclockwise with the Ascendant's horizontal line delineating the First House. Aliza Kelly Faragher, Allure, "The 12 Astrological Houses: Interpreting Your Birth Chart Beyond the Zodiac," 6 Oct. 2018 The current man in Westwood's life is her considerably younger husband and design partner Andreas Kronthaler, and the film is especially good at delineating the charms of this unusual relationship. Kenneth Turan, chicagotribune.com, "'Westwood: Punk, Icon, Activist' review: Fashion designer 'a force to be reckoned with'," 11 July 2018 The most interesting exception is Sylvain Pataille, who makes four Aligoté, bottled separately to delineate subtle variations of each vineyard’s terroir. Patrick Comiskey, latimes.com, "Alternatives to Burgundy, from Burgundy," 29 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'delineate.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of delineate

1559, in the meaning defined at sense 2a

History and Etymology for delineate

borrowed from Latin dēlīneātus, past participle of dēlīneāre "to trace the outline of," from dē- de- + līneāre "to make straight, mark with lines," derivative of līnea "string, cord, line entry 1"

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Statistics for delineate

Last Updated

28 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for delineate

The first known use of delineate was in 1559

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More Definitions for delineate

delineate

verb

English Language Learners Definition of delineate

formal : to clearly show or describe (something)

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Comments on delineate

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