de·scribe | \ di-ˈskrīb \
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 \-ˈskrī-bə-bəl \ 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

On the menu: The menu is filled with items that can best be described as fun food. Myrna Petlicki, Lake County News-Sun, "Guide to outdoor dining in Chicago suburbs: Dockside Dogs in Waukegan," 10 July 2018 The 85ºC started in Taiwan and is often described as Euro-Asian fusion. Bud Kennedy, star-telegram, "Where to find peach dishes away from the Weatherford festival crowd," 10 July 2018 The job has been described by state officials as the most challenging ever in Florida as far as exposing such as torrent of traffic to such lengthy and massive construction. Kevin Spear,, "I-4 construction nightmares: Drivers seeking payment for car damage face daunting odds," 13 July 2018 If editors had realized the connection, the incident would not have been included, or would have been described differently. Gabriella Paiella, The Cut, "This Correction in a New York Times Article About Vagina Selfies Is Really Something," 13 July 2018 Apple has also described the new keyboard as having a slightly different key feel. Lauren Goode, WIRED, "Apple's MacBook Pros Get Faster Chips, New Keyboards (Kinda)," 12 July 2018 Baber, 26, is one of two men charged in connection to the March 24, 2017, shooting that has been described as racially motivated by Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters. Sarah Brookbank,, "Jury selection begins in case of man who was killed after striking child with his car," 11 July 2018 The regulator has described Mr. Chan as the guiding mind in a scheme to defraud investors through fictitious company locations and opaque documents to overstate the value of Sino-Forest’s revenues and assets. Jacquie Mcnish, WSJ, "Canadian Regulators Impose Penalties on Former Executives of Bankrupt Sino-Forest," 11 July 2018 The president has repeatedly described his resort to tariffs, which are paid by American importers, as a lever to extract negotiating concessions from U.S. trading partners. Danielle Paquette,, "U.S. proposes tariffs on $200 billion more in Chinese imports," 11 July 2018

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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Phrases Related to describe

can't even begin to describe

Statistics for describe

Last Updated

11 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for describe

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

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More Definitions for describe



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

: to make a motion or draw a line that shows the shape of (something)


de·scribe | \ di-ˈskrīb \
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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More from Merriam-Webster on describe

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for describe

Spanish Central: Translation of describe

Nglish: Translation of describe for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of describe for Arabic Speakers

Comments on describe

What made you want to look up describe? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a magnificent or impressive array

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