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

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 Harrell said the vehicle is described as a gray or greenish-gray Nissan Altima with heavy front-end damage. Carol Robinson |,, "Troopers release photo of suspect vehicle in deadly hit-and-run," 15 June 2019 The five-minute contemporary dance piece, posted on Saturday during Pride Month, was shared via The Try Guys official YouTube account and is described as an original, deeply personal music video. Jackie Strause, The Hollywood Reporter, "YouTube Star Eugene Lee Yang Comes Out in Music Video," 15 June 2019 In other Milan news, the Rossonerri remain interested in a move for Arsenal's Lucas Torreira, with the Uruguayan being described as a 'dream' signing., "Transfer Rumours: Lo Celso to Man Utd, Palace Line Up Wan-Bissaka Replacement & More," 15 June 2019 The suspect, who was described as being in his late 30s or early 40s with a goatee, was wearing a black hoodie and black jeans with yellow shorts underneath, OPD said. Tess Sheets,, "Orlando police search for suspect accused of threatening, battering person on Orange Blossom Trail," 14 June 2019 Police said he was described as Hispanic, 20 to 30 years old, 5-10 and 160 pounds. Martin Weil, Washington Post, "Robber had gun, but no shirt, Fairfax police say," 14 June 2019 The statement highlighted the role of the FBI in the investigation into the deaths, which involved people who were described as generally healthy and exhibiting no signs of illness prior to arriving at the resorts. Elizabeth Llorente | Fox News, Fox News, "Dominican officials plead for patience as FBI, health specialists descend on Caribbean to probe tourist deaths," 13 June 2019 The second man was described as another man, also about 20 years old and also wearing a hooded sweatshirt up and tied around his face, authorities said. Steve Schering,, "Police: Chicago resident robbed at gunpoint Monday night in Oak Park," 11 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

19 Jun 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
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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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).


incapable of being surmounted or overcome

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