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

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 The jack-o’-lantern face has moving green flames pouring from the eyes, nose and mouth, a broad, grinning mouth, a long, prominent stem that curves, and dark striations delineating the segments of the pumpkin giving it a yellow-and-orange design. Ashley Cullins, The Hollywood Reporter, "Epic Games Asks Court to Declare 'Fortnite' Dancing Pumpkin Doesn't Infringe on Viral Character," 9 Dec. 2019 Between the two bedrooms is a great room with a stationary island delineating the kitchen and dining area. Pamela Dittmer Mckuen,, "Residences at Addison and Clark offer luxury living with nods to neighbor Wrigley — but don't expect to see the field," 17 June 2019 Taking turns, players throw three darts from the oche (pronounced okky), a mark nearly 9 feet away from the circular board, which is made up of segments, randomly numbered from one to 20 and delineated by wire. NBC News, "Fallon Sherrock becomes first woman to beat a man at PDC world darts," 18 Dec. 2019 His debut album, Language, completely delineates the core essence of his profoundness. Glendon Francis, Billboard, "12 Black LGBTQ Artists Who Shaped the 2010s," 18 Dec. 2019 Rael is well aware that, not too long ago, the boundary between the United States and Mexico, which is now delineated by more than seven hundred miles of fencing, was an open frontier, dotted with stone monuments. Stephania Taladrid, The New Yorker, "Border-Town Life Defies the Wall in “Borderlands”," 12 Nov. 2019 The commission also found no documentation delineating the relationship with the bank or the terms of the agreement. The Enquirer,, "Cincinnati Christian to close at the end of the fall semester after 95 years of operation," 28 Oct. 2019 Cyprus and Egypt share a sea border delineating their respective exclusive economic zones where each country is carrying out exploratory gas drilling. Washington Post, "Official: Energy security key in bolstered Cyprus-Egypt ties," 11 Sep. 2019 Justices ruled 4-1 that a 1937 law delineating rights for hourly workers—but deliberately excluding farmworkers—was superseded by a 1938 amendment to the state Constitution. Jimmy Vielkind, WSJ, "New York Court Rules Farmworkers Can Unionize," 23 May 2019

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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Time Traveler for delineate

Time Traveler

The first known use of delineate was in 1559

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Statistics for delineate

Last Updated

17 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Delineate.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 24 January 2020.

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More Definitions for delineate


How to pronounce delineate (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of delineate

formal : to clearly show or describe (something)

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Comments on delineate

What made you want to look up delineate? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a feeling of well-being or elation

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