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 The simple math models presented are used to delineate some of the drivers in compensation and revenue analyses. Jeff Gorke, Forbes, 6 Sep. 2021 For the first time in 100 years, Italian archaeologists have discovered a rare cippus, or boundary stone, used to delineate the borders of ancient Rome. Meilan Solly, Smithsonian Magazine, 5 Aug. 2021 Klassen has devised cocktails that delineate dozens of important moments or people throughout Mennonite history, and given each one a pithy introduction that is educational and fun. Christopher Michel, Country Living, 5 Sep. 2021 The adopted budget does not delineate spending on private law firms. Jeff Mcdonald, San Diego Union-Tribune, 4 Sep. 2021 As Michelle Starr reports for Science Alert, officials in the Old Babylonian period used the artifact, known as Si.427, to delineate land boundaries. Livia Gershon, Smithsonian Magazine, 5 Aug. 2021 Alas, Guinness does not delineate long hair by profession. Washington Post, 25 Aug. 2021 What the current 2020 census figures don’t delineate yet are the subsets of the Asian population, which census officials say will be released later in the year. Suzanne Baker,, 14 Aug. 2021 But is the length of an episode truly the best way to delineate between the two categories? Sydney Bucksbaum,, 23 July 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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Last Updated

24 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Delineate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Sep. 2021.

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More Definitions for delineate



English Language Learners Definition of delineate

: to clearly show or describe (something)

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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