de·​lin·​eate | \di-ˈli-nē-ˌāt, 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, 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

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,, "'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,, "Alternatives to Burgundy, from Burgundy," 29 June 2018 Up to now, the city's network of bike lanes has mostly consisted of stripes painted on pavement to delineate the lanes, rather than using the bollards for extra protection. John Gallagher, Detroit Free Press, "New protected bike lanes on East Jefferson will be test for Detroit," 17 May 2018 The menu is delineated into the highly recognizable apps, salads, pizza, entrées, sides and desserts. Mark Kurlyandchik, Detroit Free Press, "Restaurant Review: Detroit's Empire Kitchen & Cocktails has no clothes," 12 July 2018 The figures are delineated in quivery, wavering lines, as in the frankly erotic works of Egon Schiele. Sharon Mizota,, "Black and gay: Jonathan Lyndon Chase's paintings play with cultural conventions," 25 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

Latin delineatus, past participle of delineare, from de- + linea line

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Statistics for delineate

Last Updated

5 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for delineate

The first known use of delineate was in 1559

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English Language Learners Definition of delineate

: 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).


the figure or shape of a crescent moon

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