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

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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web While there’s no way to delineate how much of the success of Minions 2 is due to the GentleMinions meme. Adario Strange, Quartz, 5 July 2022 It’s about his struggle to divine or delineate the real from the superficial and the material. Brenna Ehrlich, Rolling Stone, 11 Jan. 2022 With traditional ways to delineate between days and weeks largely gone (like going to work in an office or going out to dinner or to a movie), routines can help fight against the COVID-19 blur, where one day, week, and month bleeds into the next. Brad Stulberg, Outside Online, 20 Jan. 2021 Nor did the settlements, which did not delineate any blame. Eliott C. Mclaughlin, CNN, 24 June 2022 Area rugs or a change in the flooring pattern or accent color can also help delineate spaces. Kristin Tablang, House Beautiful, 9 May 2022 For a simple outdoor gathering area, Belt recommends having a small firepit with a circular mulch pad surrounded by a stone perimeter to help delineate the space. Washington Post, 13 Oct. 2021 And Erik Spoelstra has yet to delineate a specific role for Tyler Herro amid the Heat’s roster makeover. Ira Winderman,, 18 Sep. 2021 Most agreements to set up a corridor will typically limit access to neutral parties like the United Nations or aid organizations, outline any restrictions on modes of transport permitted and clearly delineate the area and time of the safezone. Robert Hart, Forbes, 7 Mar. 2022 See More

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.

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

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The first known use of delineate was in 1559

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Last Updated

7 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Delineate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 Aug. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on delineate

Nglish: Translation of delineate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of delineate for Arabic Speakers


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