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

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
Recent Examples on the Web Once 500 feet into the storm sewer, officers observed a man matching the suspect’s description on the camera, believed to be in the area under Kirkwood Avenue, police said. Marlene Lenthang, NBC News, 21 Sep. 2022 Here’s a brief description of the movie from Netflix. Andy Meek, BGR, 20 Sep. 2022 But in the latter pages Mr. McDonald manages a gut-wrenching firsthand minute-by-minute, decision-by-decision description of the morning of 9/11. Angelina Torre, WSJ, 18 Sep. 2022 The floatplanes ferry professionals of every description to and from the islands, including whale biologists, doctors, architects, attorneys, boat technicians and IT specialists. Dominic Gates, Anchorage Daily News, 11 Sep. 2022 Learning about the symptoms was like reading a detailed description of Joe — from his extreme jumpiness at loud noises to his emotional withdrawal and explosive rages. Janet Iacobucci, Good Housekeeping, 3 Aug. 2022 Her description of the 7½-foot tall, hairy beast matches those commonly used to depict creatures known as Sasquatch, Yeti and Grassman. Zach Tuggle, USA TODAY, 3 Aug. 2022 The sheriff's office said a suspect is being sought based off a vehicle description, which is not yet publicly available. Drake Bentley, Journal Sentinel, 18 July 2022 Pretty soon, everyone at the table was assigned a description—Scary Genius, Most Likely to Chase an Ambulance, Devil with a Briefcase. Gina Deciani, Forbes, 11 July 2022 See More

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.

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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Last Updated

28 Sep 2022

Cite this Entry

“Description.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Sep. 2022.

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More Definitions for description


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

More from Merriam-Webster on description

Nglish: Translation of description for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of description for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about description


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