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 delineate (audio) , dē-​ \ noun

Synonyms for delineate


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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 To delineate the living area from the adjacent dining space, Fuer gave it a cozy feel by layering a selection of rugs, many of which the family had picked up on their travels. Hadley Keller, House Beautiful, "Marie Fuer Creates a Modern Family Apartment With Pops of Color and Tons of Hidden Storage," 1 Apr. 2021 And also the most confusing, bound to throw off anyone trying to delineate the two aloud. Los Angeles Times, "Review: Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall are back in ‘Coming 2 America.’ It wasn’t worth the wait.," 4 Mar. 2021 Their videos would delineate distinct before-and-after moments, gather evidence of bad behavior, and make judgment calls, with the creators often serving as the closest thing to that world’s moral compass. Luke Winkie, Vulture, "One Viral Moment: 9 Drama Commentary YouTubers on Their Breakout Videos," 2 Mar. 2021 Here, Balto argues, the FTC should consider using its rulemaking power to adopt rules that delineate the anti-competitive effects of rebate walls. Joshua Cohen, Forbes, "Rebate Walls Stifle Prescription Drug Competition," 1 Mar. 2021 Writer-impresario Bill Esparza helped delineate Perez’s emphasis on tacos by giving him a slot in the 2016 Tacolandia festival. Bill Addison, Los Angeles Times, "One of L.A.’s best pop-up taquerias touches down in Boyle Heights," 24 Feb. 2021 The seats will be arranged in groups of two or four with markings to delineate the available and unavailable seats. Giana Han, al, "Weekly Auburn roundup: Track and field and gymnastics teams break season, collegiate and career records," 8 Feb. 2021 To improve security on the property, the city will purchase a fence to delineate different zoning areas and deter potential criminals in the commercial area from accessing adjacent resident property. Laura Bednar, cleveland, "Independence completes house demolition to make way for greenspace," 8 Feb. 2021 Is there a way to delineate and set goals around the unknowable contents of 2021 without setting myself up to fail? Emma Specter, Vogue, "Asking for a Friend: Should I Even Bother With a New Year’s Resolution?," 5 Jan. 2021

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

9 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Delineate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Apr. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of delineate

formal : to clearly show or describe (something)

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