Definition of describe
1 : to represent or give an account of in words <describe a picture> <The police asked her to describe the thief.> <There were so many things he wanted to describe … — James Joyce>
2 : to represent by a figure, model, or picture : delineate <describeed in her paintings what she saw from her window>
3 obsolete : distribute
4 : to trace or traverse the outline of <describe a circle>
describableplay \-ˈskrī-bə-bəl\ adjective
Examples of describe in a sentence
The witness wasn't able to describe the robber.
He described the house in perfect detail.
The article describes how the experiment was done.
She described watching dolphins play beside the ship.
Please describe what happened next.
Can you describe the lost dog to me?
She used a stick to describe a circle on the ground.
Origin and Etymology of describe
Middle English, from Latin describere, from de- + scribere to write — more at scribe
First Known Use: 15th century
DESCRIBE Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of describe for English Language Learners
: to tell someone the appearance, sound, smell, events, etc., of (something or someone) : to say what something or someone is like
: to make a motion or draw a line that shows the shape of (something)
DESCRIBE Defined for Kids
Definition of describe for Students
1 : to write or tell about <Describe what you saw.>
2 : to draw the outline of <First, describe a circle.>
Word Root of describe
The Latin word scribere, meaning “to write,” and its form scriptus give us the roots scrib and script. Words from the Latin scribere have something to do with writing. To scribble is to write quickly or carelessly. To describe is to write or tell about something or someone. A manuscript is a document written by hand. To transcribe is to write down something spoken or copy something written.
Seen and Heard
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