de·​mar·​cate | \di-ˈmär-ˌkāt, ˈdē-ˌ \
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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Other Words from demarcate

demarcation \ˌdē-​ˌmär-​ˈkā-​shən \ noun

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 economic impact would be greatest in a triangle demarcated by BMW’s factory in Spartanburg; Daimler’s Mercedes complex in Tuscaloosa, Ala.; and Volkswagen’s plant in Chattanooga, Tenn. Jack Ewing, New York Times, "Trump Voters May Be the Biggest Losers From Trump’s Auto Tariffs," 3 July 2018 Lebanese soldiers looked over the barrier from a guard post on the opposite side of the Blue Line, which was demarcated by the U.N. after Israeli forces withdrew from south Lebanon in 2000 following an 18-year military occupation. Fox News, "Israeli wall rising near border with Lebanon stokes tensions," 6 Sep. 2018 Pereira visualized Risam's work by demarcating 113 ORR shelters, including nonprofit, religious, and government-run facilities, as black dots on the map. Emily Dreyfuss, WIRED, "'ICE Is Everywhere': Using Library Science to Map the Separation Crisis," 25 June 2018 But asserting rights is easier than demarcating them. Mitchell Cohen, New York Times, "Did the Crusade for Human Rights Lead to More Inequality?," 18 May 2018 The kitchen, dining room and living room are open, with a partial wall of shelves demarcating the living space from the eating areas. Shari Rudavsky, Indianapolis Star, "Hot Property: 4 bedrooms, elevator and waterfall in $539K wooded home on northeast side," 22 June 2018 It is modestly demarcated with a slender sign resting on a cabinet and a finger puppet of Sigmund Freud and his couch propped up against it. Issie Lapowsky, WIRED, "The Man Who Saw the Dangers of Cambridge Analytica Years Ago," 19 June 2018 Tears suddenly become a sign of weakness, demarcated for girls, while boys are discouraged from showing vulnerability at all. Jessica Machado,, "If we don't want our sons to be monstrous men, we have to help them curb their anger," 3 June 2018 But many are old New England stone walls, put up in the 1700s and 1800s to demarcate farms and pastures. Robert Weisman,, "Non-profit aims to get girls in the game," 28 May 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

8 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for demarcate

The first known use of demarcate was in 1816

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English Language Learners Definition of demarcate

: to show the limits or edges of (something)


transitive verb
de·​mar·​cate | \di-ˈmär-ˌkāt, ˈdē-ˌ \
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 \ 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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a knickknack or trinket

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