describe

verb
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

The word originally described great auks — a large, black-and-white, flightless aquatic bird that once called the Northern Hemisphere home. Gemma Tarlach, Discover Magazine, "20 Things You Didn't Know About ... Penguins," 6 Nov. 2018 Terms to describe the natural world—such as acorn, adder, bluebell, bramble, otter, raven and willow—have been banished to make room for such chilly contemporary words as blog, broadband and bullet-point. Meghan Cox Gurdon, WSJ, "What to Give: Children’s Books," 15 Nov. 2018 Amazon and regional officials have invented the term National Landing to describe the area around the airport that encompasses both Crystal City and Potomac Yards. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "Amazon is getting more than $2 billion for NYC and Virginia expansions," 13 Nov. 2018 The staffer spoke on condition of anonymity to describe private conversations. CBS News, "Push by liberal Democrats’ to abolish ICE delights GOP," 13 July 2018 To simply describe the plot is to undersell the book's key quality — the way DelBianco's arresting, lyrical sentences seem to activate all five senses, plus your sense of fear. refinery29.com, "How Rae DelBianco Went From Cattle Farmer To Bookstagram Queen To Literary Darling — All By 25," 13 July 2018 That happens to be the exact word Putin uses to describe NATO maneuvers in Europe. Andrew Malcolm, SFChronicle.com, "Will Trump stand up to Putin or fall for him?," 12 July 2018 Media used the term pathology to describe her life, too. Josie Duffy Rice, The Atlantic, "The Gospel According to Pusha T," 12 July 2018 The rhetorical overkill used to describe a mediocre but well-intentioned presidency was so over-the-top it was parodied in a famous Simpsons bit: Carter was a Republican bogeyman in 1988, and when Bill Clinton came along. Jonathan Chait, Daily Intelligencer, "Poll: Barack Obama Was the Greatest President of Our Lifetime," 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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Statistics for describe

Last Updated

4 Dec 2018

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

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

describe

verb
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

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