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 What is one sentence that our client would use to describe our core value proposition? 6. Josh Linkner, Detroit Free Press, "How to use gratitude to delight customers and improve sales," 30 Nov. 2019 Gus Malzahn described Alabama’s offensive line as one of the best in the nation and Nick Saban labeled Auburn’s defensive line as unquestionably the best the Tide have faced this season. Mike Rodak |, al, "What to watch from Alabama in the Iron Bowl," 30 Nov. 2019 Stefanowski used to describe the tax as temporary in stump speeches until it was reported as inaccurate by CT Mirror. Mark Pazniokas,, "Despite what you may hear, the Connecticut income tax was never meant to be temporary," 29 Nov. 2019 Scenes of panic at a busy London hub Witnesses described scenes of panic as swarms of Londoners were rushed away from the bridge by police, while major buildings surrounding the area including the Shard skyscraper were put into lockdown. Rob Picheta, CNN, "Two people killed in a 'terror incident' near London Bridge," 29 Nov. 2019 My uncertainty about using the word has only become stronger now that people often use it to describe the perpetrators of mass shootings and blame their heinous acts on mental illness. Self, "No, You Shouldn’t Call Someone ‘Crazy.’ But Do We Have to Ban the Word Entirely?," 27 Nov. 2019 The four are characters in The Good Place, a satirical comedy about an afterlife that’s best described as a mash-up of historic Christian notions of purgatory and French existentialist philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre’s play No Exit. Matthew Robert Anderson, Quartzy, "“The Good Place” taps into our hunger for second chances and redemption," 27 Nov. 2019 In September, a paper in The Journal of Clinical Investigation described mice exposed to e-cigarettes for 4 months, nearly one-quarter of their life span. Jennifer Couzin-frankel, Science | AAAS, "How safe is vaping? New human studies assess chronic harm to heart and lungs," 26 Nov. 2019 The online research described here is funded by a training grant from the National Institute of Mental Health. Melissa Simone, STAT, "Bots started sabotaging my online research. I fought back," 21 Nov. 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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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

4 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Describe.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 9 December 2019.

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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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