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

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Other Words from describe

describable \ di-​ˈskrī-​bə-​bəl How to pronounce describable (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.
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Recent Examples on the Web There are no words, there are no words to describe it. William Harwood, CBS News, "SpaceX Crew Dragon astronauts describe thrilling ride to orbit," 19 Nov. 2020 The statement said the company was working with authorities but did not describe the cause of death. al, "Jetman dies in training accident: French daredevil Vince Reffet killed in Dubai," 18 Nov. 2020 California's coronavirus guidance for restaurants does not describe in detail what counts as outdoor dining, but many have set up tents that create spaces enclosed on three sides. Kathleen Ronayne, Star Tribune, "California's Newsom still on hot seat for dinner party," 18 Nov. 2020 There aren't many other words to describe Michigan football's performance at No. 13 Indiana on Saturday. Chris Thomas, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan football reactions: Is Jim Harbaugh wearing out his welcome with Wolverines?," 7 Nov. 2020 The officer was transported to Hartford Hospital for treatment, but police did not describe the cause or extent of the officer’s injuries. Zach Murdock,, "Hartford police officer injured in South End on Friday night," 30 Oct. 2020 But more seriously, Mounk doesn’t describe the illiberalism on the left with any rigor. Michael Brendan Dougherty, National Review, "Biden Won’t Stop the Illiberal Left," 27 Oct. 2020 The Sheriff's Office identified Dickerson as a former coworker of Finley but did not describe the motive for the killing. Staff Report,, "Arrest made in murder at home near Abita Springs, St. Tammany authorities say," 24 Oct. 2020 Larsen did not describe himself as Paul’s attorney in court or public records filings. Lauren Mcgaughy, Dallas News, "Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton intervened in donor’s legal affairs multiple times this year," 23 Oct. 2020

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.

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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

25 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Describe.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Nov. 2020.

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More Definitions for describe


How to pronounce describe (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of describe

: to tell someone the appearance, sound, smell, events, etc., of (something or someone) : to say what something or someone is like
formal : to make a motion or draw a line that shows the shape of (something)


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.

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Comments on describe

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