de·​scribe | \ di-ˈskrīb How to pronounce describe (audio) \
described; describing

Definition of describe

transitive verb

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 described in her paintings what she saw from her window
3 obsolete : distribute
4 : to trace or traverse the outline of describe a circle
5 archaic : observe, perceive

Other Words from describe

describable \ di-​ˈskrī-​bə-​bəl How to pronounce describe (audio) \ adjective
describer noun

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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web The term can be used to describe how adoptees think and feel when they've been conditioned to view adoption in a positive light. Grace Hauck, USA TODAY, 13 May 2022 Invaluable is just one of several words that can be used to describe the work St. Francis High School intervention specialist Eric Gyland does with at-risk students every day. Alec Johnson, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 11 May 2022 Just as no two people are the same, nor can just a few words be used to describe the fragrance of H24. Grooming Playbook, The Salt Lake Tribune, 11 May 2022 At Chinese universities, when a student reports a professor for political wrongdoing, the verb that’s used to describe this action is jubao. Peter Hessler, The New Yorker, 9 May 2022 According to the Adler Planetarium, the lunar eclipse will also be known as a Blood Moon, a term used to describe the moon's reddish or orange color during the total lunar eclipse. Emily Deletter, The Enquirer, 9 May 2022 In the midst of Saturday’s intense Game 3 between the Golden State Warriors and the Memphis Grizzlies, a meteorologist at a TV station in Memphis took to Twitter and used a term with a long racist history to describe Warriors forward Draymond Green. Jessica Flores, San Francisco Chronicle, 8 May 2022 Car companies through the years have used flashy names like Mustang and Cougar to describe their products. Joe Queenan, WSJ, 5 May 2022 Just as the earth clings to its former shape, leaving a record of where ice used to be, the very language used to describe these changes is revealing. Lois Parshley, Anchorage Daily News, 3 May 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of describe

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for describe

Middle English, from Latin describere, from de- + scribere to write — more at scribe

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Time Traveler for describe

Time Traveler

The first known use of describe was in the 15th century

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Statistics for describe

Last Updated

18 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Describe.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for describe


de·​scribe | \ di-ˈskrīb How to pronounce describe (audio) \
described; describing

Kids Definition of describe

1 : to write or tell about Describe what you saw.
2 : to draw the outline of First, describe a circle.

More from Merriam-Webster on describe

Nglish: Translation of describe for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of describe for Arabic Speakers


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