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 Maren Stripe Indoor/Outdoor Rug Give your sectional a solid foundation and help delineate your outdoor space, with this handwoven striped rug. Leah Koenig, Forbes, 28 May 2021 Now, 10-by-10-foot squares delineate where people can place their tents and keep their possessions. Los Angeles Times, 7 May 2021 Outlook’s new break setting dovetails with the virtual commute feature Microsoft added to its Teams tools to delineate the start and finish of employees’ workdays. Ann-marie Alcántara, WSJ, 30 Apr. 2021 Like the state order, Baltimore’s order does not delineate between those who have been vaccinated and those who have not. Emily Opilo,, 30 Apr. 2021 One hundred eighteen of its 1,885 miles, including the elbow-like curve that gives Big Bend its name, delineate the southern edge of the park—and the international boundary with Mexico. Marcia Desanctis, Travel + Leisure, 25 Apr. 2021 Some found ways to artificially delineate their work and home lives. Belinda Luscombe, Time, 17 Apr. 2021 There are ways to delineate the real thing from imitators. Scottie Andrew, CNN, 8 Apr. 2021 Research the trip with GPS, satellite photos, topographic maps, and maps that delineate prime habitat and private/public land demarcations before heading out. Gerald Almy, Field & Stream, 19 Mar. 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

8 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Delineate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for delineate



English Language Learners Definition of delineate

formal : to clearly show or describe (something)


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