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

That’s how celebrity trainer Don Saladino describes the kettlebell windmill. Jenny Mccoy, SELF, "Why You Should Try the Kettlebell Windmill Exercise, According to Blake Lively’s Trainer," 9 Jan. 2019 Plus, having a surgery like the one Dr. Holmes described (known as a labiaplasty) isn't all it's cracked up to be. Editors, Seventeen, "Is My Vagina Normal?," 18 Oct. 2018 The cable is exactly as its name describes: one end of the six-foot cord has Microsoft’s proprietary Surface Connect adapter, while the other end is a standard USB-C plug. Dan Seifert, The Verge, "This cable lets you charge your Surface Pro or Laptop from a USB-C battery," 18 Dec. 2018 No Strictly botanically speaking, grains describe caryopses (a.k.a. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "Is Quinoa a Grain? 100% Yes, According to Nutritionists," 10 Dec. 2018 Behind the Ropes Mansion is a colorful garden some might even describe as magical. Alyssa Fiorentino, House Beautiful, "You Need To Know The Real Story Behind Allison's House From Hocus Pocus," 17 Oct. 2018 His daughters, cheerleaders Maria and Micalea, stood in the middle of the court as the announcer described Kemerling’s military experience. Katherine Lam, Fox News, "US soldier returns from deployment, surprises twin cheerleader daughters at Missouri basketball game," 2 Oct. 2018 Between the alcohol and the pain and confusion that stems from his realization that Claire will leave him, Frank can't find the words to describe what's happening. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "What Tobias Menzies's Return to Outlander Reveals About Frank Randall," 17 Dec. 2018 Military Occupational Specialties Marine Corps personnel are assigned Military Occupation Specialties to describe their roles in the service. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "The U.S. Military’s Cryptic Letters, Numbers, and Symbols, Explained," 6 Dec. 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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Statistics for describe

Last Updated

16 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

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).


tremendous in size, volume, or degree

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Homophone Quiz

  • three-bears-two-of-them-look-like-theyre-whispering-to-a-third-bear-who-looks-chuffed-to-be-the-center-of-attention
  • In order to judge how people felt, the senator's office hired a firm to take a ______.
True or False

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