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 So to delineate it as a friendly aircraft, the American flag and U.S.A. were painted on the horizontal stabilizers. CBS News, "Former CIA museum curator highlights the agency's most important artifacts - transcript," 17 June 2020 The collage did not clearly delineate between these images, and has since been replaced. Bill Goodykoontz, azcentral, "Fox News says doctored photos were 'errors.' But they were fake news, plain and simple," 15 June 2020 At the same time, the drama is careful to delineate what a special moment the 1970s were for the women's movement — in all its idealism, excess and, eventually, doom. Inkoo Kang, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Mrs. America': TV Review," 2 Apr. 2020 Hidalgo was going to discuss a joint plan with Judge Ritchie on Tuesday, but Ritchie would need to run it by his 22 judges on the felony bench to delineate who would fit the criteria. Gabrielle Banks, Houston Chronicle, "Harris County, state officials wrestling over releases at jail amid coronavirus crisis," 31 Mar. 2020 Others will deem it too much trouble to develop a solution to delineate between message types, and therefore will simply stop serving ads via notifications. Samuel Axon, Ars Technica, "Apple’s new App Store policies fight spam and abuse but also allow ads in notifications," 6 Mar. 2020 Correction: This article has been updated to accurately delineate the calculations of the group’s two publications. Charlie Wood, Popular Science, "There’s a chance the black hole at the center of our galaxy is actually a wormhole," 25 Oct. 2019 The hospital set up a command center staffed by about two dozen employees, each one wearing a vest that delineates his or her role. Kelly Wilkinson, Indianapolis Star, "Fighting a war against the enemy you can't see: How VA Medical Center battles coronavirus," 16 Apr. 2020 Diaz said many Mam don’t easily fall into the categories that the census delineates. Joe Garofoli,, "‘We are invisible’: Coronavirus just made census counting harder in Bay Area," 16 Apr. 2020

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

1 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Delineate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Aug. 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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