de·​lin·​ea·​tion | \ di-ˌli-nē-ˈā-shən How to pronounce delineation (audio) , dē- \

Definition of delineation

1 : the act of outlining or representing something with lines or words : the act of delineating the delineation of a scene … the delineation of the territories allotted to the seven tribes of Israel …— Adam Nicholson
2 : something made by delineating a photographic delineation of low life— T. S. Eliot

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from delineation

delineative \ di-​ˈli-​nē-​ˌā-​tiv How to pronounce delineative (audio) , dē-​ \ adjective

Synonyms for delineation


Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of delineation in a Sentence

his simple but striking delineations of Dutch landscapes a finely wrought delineation of a young woman's first experience with romantic love
Recent Examples on the Web Martinez de Vara had asked the historic commission Wednesday to require the city to perform a cemetery boundary delineation study, backed with archival and archaeological research, before the work begins at the site. Scott Huddleston,, "Work on Cenotaph in downtown San Antonio could start in February," 21 Dec. 2019 My Charley did not opt for a flame-out on live television, or even a private delineation of my failings as a friend. Laura Lippman, Longreads, "The Art of Losing Friends and Alienating People," 8 Nov. 2019 Now the resource delineation work has shifted to the deeper sediments, Eden said. Elwood Brehmer, Anchorage Daily News, "Unique state-owned prospect a highlight as spending on Alaska mineral exploration rebounds," 7 Nov. 2019 This calls attention to the delineation of ‘foreign film’ vs ‘foreign-language film.’ Which makes more sense? Hannah Giorgis, The Atlantic, "What Makes a Movie ‘Foreign’ Enough for the Oscars?," 9 Nov. 2019 There’s a pretty clear delineation between the lot who’ve just joined CRDT a few short weeks ago, and those who’ve been a more embedded part of the three-year process bringing this work to life. Lauren Warnecke,, "Cerqua Rivera Dance’s ‘Catracho’ is a personal, timely immigration story," 28 Sep. 2019 Again, the Heat often will present lineups and cycle through lineups where the positional delineations are indistinguishable. Ira Winderman,, "ASK IRA: Are Heat positioned for lineup issues?," 17 Sep. 2019 That wasn’t a clear enough delineation between his private and public life, the watchdog found. The Washington Post, The Mercury News, "Analysis: What is the Hatch Act, and how did Kellyanne Conway violate it?," 13 June 2019 In addition to the architectural delineations, Green's constant 're-merchandizing' helped break up the space. Lucia Tonelli, ELLE Decor, "Inside a Chanel Fashion Executive’s High-Glam Sutton Place Home," 26 July 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'delineation.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of delineation

1570, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for delineation

borrowed from Late Latin dēlīneātiōn-, dēlīneātiō "description," from Latin dēlīneāre "to trace the outline of, delineate" + -tiōn-, -tiō, suffix of verbal action

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about delineation

Time Traveler for delineation

Time Traveler

The first known use of delineation was in 1570

See more words from the same year

Statistics for delineation

Last Updated

18 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Delineation.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 20 January 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on delineation

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for delineation

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with delineation

Britannica English: Translation of delineation for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about delineation

Comments on delineation

What made you want to look up delineation? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


not to be intimidated or subdued

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

The Eponym Quiz

  • rubens painting
  • Which is the best synonym of bowdlerize?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!