describe

verb
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

He is described in lore as having a humanoid figure with a knife-like nose. Andrew Daniels, Popular Mechanics, "The OG Batman Was Actually a Mesoamerican Humanoid Monster," 28 June 2019 During the trial, senior assistant district attorney James Fayette pointed to a history of explosive arguments between the two, which neighbors often overheard and which were described under oath as including violent threats from him. USA Today, "Alaska is considered the deadliest state for women. A staggering 59% of women there have experienced violence.," 25 June 2019 The technology was described as a prewar luxury that was being manufactured in large quantities and sold at a moderate cost in the postwar mass market. Haleema Shah, Smithsonian, "The Unexpected History of the Air Conditioner," 24 June 2019 In what officials described as a coup attempt, the governor of the northern Amhara region Ambachew Mekonnen along with advisor Ezez Wassie were killed. Abdi Latif Dahir, Quartz Africa, "Ethiopia’s coup attempt spells disaster for its democratic transition," 24 June 2019 Obviously, this does not describe our current reality exactly. Ephrat Livni, Quartzy, "“Neon Genesis Evangelion,” a classic anime now on Netflix, tells the story of our lives," 23 June 2019 Overall, the music could be described as classical, but musicians from all over the world fly in to play a mix of jazz, Latin and chamber music for small (50 people) to large (1,000 people) audiences, depending on the setting. Mindy Sink, The Know, "Take a hike to a secret location to listen to music among red rocks at the Moab Music Festival," 22 June 2019 Behun, a 24-year-old white woman, was found in the living room holding what police described as a foot-long butter knife. AZCentral.com, "Phoenix police shot at more people than NYPD did in 2018. Will that change?," 20 June 2019 The eukaryotes represented a substantial departure from their predecessors, and the transition from an all-prokaryote world to one that contained eukaryotes is often described as abrupt and explosive. Quanta Magazine, "Bacterial Complexity Revises Ideas About ‘Which Came First?’," 16 June 2019

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

3 Jul 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

describe

verb

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)

describe

verb
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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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

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