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 describe (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 Police describe her as 5 feet 5 inches tall, 180 pounds, with a medium build and long, black hair. Sophie Carson, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Milwaukee police are looking for missing woman, 35, last seen Sunday morning," 3 May 2021 Between 40 percent and 75 percent of long-haulers describe a complex neurological constellation of symptoms and conditions. Arkansas Online, "Help may come from long-haulers," 2 May 2021 New mothers describe the trauma of giving birth alone, while their partners care for siblings in the absence of eager grandparents who might otherwise help out. Blane Bachelor, CNN, "The desperate families still torn apart by Covid rules," 2 May 2021 Please describe your approach to improving homelessness in Anchorage. Emily Goodykoontz, Anchorage Daily News, "Anchorage mayoral runoff Q&A: What is your approach to improving homelessness?," 30 Apr. 2021 PeopleMover fans describe its pace as soothing, and riders loom above the teeming Tomorrowland masses. Dewayne Bevil,, "Disney: The people have spoken on PeopleMover," 30 Apr. 2021 Leslie and Jacob describe the geological forces that have shaped Mount Hood — one of our region’s most striking natural landmarks. oregonlive, "How geological forces built the Pacific Northwest we love to explore: Peak Northwest podcast," 29 Apr. 2021 Critics describe a system in which courtiers of the prime minister have broken off into factions, briefing against each other and vying for the prime minister's attention. NBC News, "Boris Johnson's apartment renovation proves costly as opponents seize on sleaze scandal," 29 Apr. 2021 Razor bumps can also describe ingrown hairs that may or may not be visible. Harper's Bazaar Staff, Harper's BAZAAR, "How to Get Rid of Annoying Razor Bumps," 28 Apr. 2021

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

6 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Describe.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 May. 2021.

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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.

Comments on describe

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