de·​scrip·​tion | \ di-ˈskrip-shən How to pronounce description (audio) \

Definition of description

1a : an act of describing specifically : discourse intended to give a mental image of something experienced beautiful beyond description gave an accurate description of what he saw
b : a statement or account giving the characteristics of someone or something : a descriptive statement or account The review was little more than a description of the film's plot.
2 : kind or character especially as determined by salient (see salient entry 1 sense 3b) features someone fitting the suspect's description had toys of every description opposed to any tax of so radical a description

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Choose the Right Synonym for description

type, kind, sort, nature, description, character mean a number of individuals thought of as a group because of a common quality or qualities. type may suggest strong and clearly marked similarity throughout the items included so that each is typical of the group. one of three basic body types kind may suggest natural grouping. a zoo seemingly having animals of every kind sort often suggests some disparagement. the sort of newspaper dealing in sensational stories nature may imply inherent, essential resemblance rather than obvious or superficial likenesses. two problems of a similar nature description implies a group marked by agreement in all details belonging to a type as described or defined. not all acts of that description are actually illegal character implies a group marked by distinctive likenesses peculiar to the type. research on the subject so far has been of an elementary character

Examples of description in a Sentence

Reporters called the scene “a disaster area,” and I think that was an accurate description. I applied for the position after reading the job description. a writer with a gift of description
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Recent Examples on the Web Maia also gave a breezy description of how the then-aspiring actress and Weinstein first met at a Hollywood party a few months before the alleged rape. Michael R. Sisak, Anchorage Daily News, "Weinstein doesn’t testify in his rape trial as defense rests," 11 Feb. 2020 In that ruling, the court said that the proposal itself was constitutional but that a shorthand description of the measure, called a gist, didn’t adequately describe the proposal. USA TODAY, "Crane season, corporal punishment, Common Core: News from around our 50 states," 11 Feb. 2020 As a result, mathematicians have spent decades trying to come up with a description of turbulence that specifies exactly what’s happening at every point in a turbulent system, at every moment in time. Quanta Magazine, "Mathematicians Prove Universal Law of Turbulence," 4 Feb. 2020 Dispatchers broadcast a description of the suspects’ vehicle to police, and officers were able to locate it the suspects a short time later at the Palace of Fine Arts. Megan Cassidy,, "SF auto burglary spree leads police across city until arrests by movie theater," 4 Feb. 2020 What follows is a description of how to go from an unknown virus to a diagnostic test in less than a month. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "How do we test for coronavirus, anyway?," 3 Feb. 2020 The application process includes explaining the overall project, how the state money would be used, owner of the facility and a description of the existing funding for the project. Laura Bednar, cleveland, "Independence looks to upgrade Civic Center," 2 Feb. 2020 Police did not release a description of the woman's body but said there is no initial indication of foul play. Frank Witsil, Detroit Free Press, "Mystery surrounds body found in Detroit River — and worried dog may be key clue," 30 Jan. 2020 Police also spoke with workers at a nearby gas station to see if anyone matched a general description given by the victim. Jim Riccioli, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "A man claimed he was robbed at gunpoint in Waukesha. It never happened, police say.," 30 Jan. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'description.' 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 description

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for description

Middle English descripcioun, from Anglo-French & Latin; Anglo-French, from Latin description-, descriptio, from describere — see describe

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Time Traveler for description

Time Traveler

The first known use of description was in the 14th century

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Statistics for description

Last Updated

14 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Description.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for description


How to pronounce description (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of description

: a statement that tells you how something or someone looks, sounds, etc. : words that describe something or someone
: type or kind


de·​scrip·​tion | \ di-ˈskrip-shən How to pronounce description (audio) \

Kids Definition of description

1 : a written or spoken statement about something that enables a reader or listener to picture it I recognized the place from your description of it.
2 : sort entry 1 sense 1, kind People of every description were there.



Legal Definition of description

: a representation in words of the nature and characteristics of a thing: as
a : a specification of the boundaries of a piece of land (as for a deed)
b : an explanation of an invention in a patent application or printed publication

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