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 Calendar synesthesia, seen in 1 to 2 percent of the population, may involve the neural circuitry the authors describe. Scientific American, "Readers Respond to the February 2020 Issue," 1 June 2020 Those expanding goblet cell army ranks fueled a surge in ACE2, as Sheltzer and his coauthors described in a study published in Developmental Cell in mid-May. Megan Molteni, Wired, "Meet ACE2, the Enzyme at the Center of the Covid-19 Mystery," 1 June 2020 Before submitting, users must add a report describing the location of the incident, who was involved, names of the officers in the video if known, and any additional details. Alaa Elassar, CNN, "The ACLU created an app to help people record police misconduct," 31 May 2020 The father of two misses his wife more than words could describe. Ivana Hrynkiw |, al, "Jefferson County probate judge Alan King retires, reflects on 19 years of judgeship," 31 May 2020 Just before the online hearing began, U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden issued an extraordinary call for the resignation of the department’s director, describing Oregon’s dysfunctional jobless claims system in blunt terms. Mike Rogoway | The Oregonian/oregonlive, oregonlive, "Oregon’s embattled employment department defends itself to skeptical legislators," 30 May 2020 The internet activity that Kemp’s staff described as hacking attempts was actually scans by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security that the secretary of state’s office had agreed to, according to the GBI. ProPublica, "Law Enforcement Files Discredit Brian Kemp’s Accusation That Democrats Tried to Hack the Georgia Election," 29 May 2020 Never has that phrase better described how quickly — and how well — Indiana’s corporate and philanthropic community can respond to dramatically changing circumstance. David L. Johnson, The Indianapolis Star, "Extraordinary spring brings leaders forward in remarkable ways," 28 May 2020 The work described here provides a recipe that might convert some of them to useful materials. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "New material releases hydrogen from water at near-perfect efficiency," 27 May 2020

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 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Describe.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Jun. 2020.

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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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