de·​mar·​cate | \ di-ˈmär-ˌkāt How to pronounce demarcate (audio) , ˈdē-ˌmär- How to pronounce demarcate (audio) \
demarcated; demarcating

Definition of demarcate

transitive verb

1 : delimit a plot of land demarcated by a low stone wall
2 : to set apart : distinguish demarcate teachers as mentor, master and model teachers based on their level of education— Shanay Cadette

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Did You Know?

Demarcate is set apart by its unique history. Scholars think it may have descended from the Italian verb marcare ("to mark"), which is itself of Germanic origin (the Old High German word for boundary, "marha," is a relative). "Marcare" is the probable source of the Spanish marcar (also "to mark"), from which comes the Spanish demarcar ("to fix the boundary of"). In 1493, a Spanish noun, demarcación, was used to name the new meridian dividing the New World territory between Spain and Portugal. Later (about 1730), English speakers began calling this boundary the "line of demarcation," and eventually we began applying that phrase to other dividing lines as well. "Demarcation" in turn gave rise to "demarcate" in the early 19th century.

Examples of demarcate in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

The jersey is still used to demarcate the race leader today, with one addition: after Desgrange died in 1940, his initials—HD—were added to the waistline. Michael Waters, Smithsonian, "The Original Tour de France Yellow Jersey Was Made of Wool," 17 July 2019 However, the atmosphere quickly became tense after police deployed pepper spray, which galvanized crowds to deliver supplies, including helmets and goggles, to the front lines, demarcated by barriers set up by protesters to block police. Isabella Steger, Quartz, "Photos: Hong Kong police fight protesters in a luxury shopping mall," 14 July 2019 The race course is a little more than a quarter-mile of open water, demarcated with buoys, with spectators anchored on either side, some of the boats rafted together to form makeshift party barges. Ezra Dyer, Popular Mechanics, "Lobstermen Go Racing," 30 June 2019 In the courtroom was Winslow’s father, the lean, towering Hall of Fame tight end of the same name, sat behind his son in a section demarcated for family. Robert Klemko,, "You Never Knew Kellen Winslow Jr.," 13 June 2019 When an animal is listed, habitat critical for its survival is demarcated, and there are some restrictions on what can be done in these areas. National Geographic, "How do we decide which species are endangered or threatened?," 22 Apr. 2019 Wallpaper is also a great way to demarcate smaller areas within an open space, Arps says. Emma Bazilian, House Beautiful, "Why Every Workspace Needs a Little Bit of Wallpaper," 6 Mar. 2019 The glass that demarcates individual offices is covered with sheer curtains to provide privacy without alienating anyone—even in the partners’ offices, none of which are sited in corners. Tim Gavan, WSJ, "New Corporate-Office Design: No Ping-Pong, But Not Uptight," 31 Aug. 2018 Russia has given the nod to the Turkish offensive, which is unfolding in an area demarcated as under Russia’s overall influence, U.S. officials say. Washington Post, "New American strategy for Syria could be doomed as allies of U.S. fight each other," 27 Jan. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'demarcate.' 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 demarcate

1816, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for demarcate

back-formation from demarcation, from Spanish demarcación, from demarcar to delimit, from de- + marcar to mark, probably from Italian marcare, of Germanic origin; akin to Old High German marha boundary — more at mark

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Statistics for demarcate

Last Updated

21 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for demarcate

The first known use of demarcate was in 1816

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More Definitions for demarcate



English Language Learners Definition of demarcate

formal : to show the limits or edges of (something)


transitive verb
de·​mar·​cate | \ di-ˈmär-ˌkāt How to pronounce demarcate (audio) , ˈdē-ˌ How to pronounce demarcate (audio) \
demarcated; demarcating

Medical Definition of demarcate

1 : to mark or determine the limits of
2 : to set apart clearly or distinctly as if by definite limits or boundaries

Other Words from demarcate

demarcation also demarkation \ ˌdē-​ˌmär-​ˈkā-​shən How to pronounce demarkation (audio) \ noun

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More from Merriam-Webster on demarcate

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with demarcate

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for demarcate

Spanish Central: Translation of demarcate

Britannica English: Translation of demarcate for Arabic Speakers

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something desired as essential

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