de·scrip·tion | \ di-ˈskrip-shən \

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

Hyatt staffers asked Fanoomies to remove the hotel from its event description in late May after an article about the sushi fest ran in The Bee, Erlenbusch said, a request the company ignored. Benjy Egel, sacbee, "They bought tickets to a bogus sushi festival. Now they can’t get their money back," 11 July 2018 The circuit is so competitive that Elias can reveal very little of his job description out of fear that other teams will steal racing secrets. Jacob Sweet, miamiherald, "His dream was to race cars. Now this Miami kid is building them for one of best F1 teams," 10 July 2018 According to the alert, police responded in minutes but weren’t able to find the Hyundai, though investigators later identified one matching its description on surveillance footage. Jeff Weiner,, "Man performed 'sex act' in front of 2 women at UCF campus, police say," 10 July 2018 The historical record holds evidence, too, in the form of colonial-era writings by Diego Durán, a Dominican priest whose eyewitness accounts of Aztec life include a description of the ballgame as it was played in 1585. Erin Blakemore, National Geographic, "Where Did Soccer Start? Archaeology Weighs In.," 15 June 2018 The lack of a meeting with Kim, and North Korea's description of the talks, raise concerns about the future of denuclearization. CBS News, "North Korea calls Pompeo talks "regrettable," accuses U.S. of unilateral denuclearization demands," 7 July 2018 An interactive timeline details about 20,000 of the archaeologists’ finds, complete with images and descriptions of the wide array of objects. Meilan Solly, Smithsonian, "New Website Unearths Amsterdam’s History Via 700,000 Artifacts Spanning 5,000 Years," 2 July 2018 Their descriptions were consistent in terms of appearance and demeanor of the assailant and the vehicle used in the assaults — a white pickup similar to one owned by Losano, according to the Suffolk district attorney’s office. Danny Mcdonald,, "Swampscott man charged with raping five women at gunpoint," 12 July 2018 The wines were each named after a character on the show, and their descriptions, while apt for wine, seemed just a teeny tiny bit inappropriate as tie-ins for the show. Karen Han, Vox, "Creepy Handmaid’s Tale wine announced, canceled within 24 hours," 11 July 2018

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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Phrases Related to description

beggar description

beyond description

Statistics for description

Last Updated

12 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for description

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

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More Definitions for description



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 \

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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Comments on description

What made you want to look up description? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


occurring twice a year or every two years

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