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 The part-time description, which refers to a Guard member's stateside experience in normal times, can be misleading. Eric Besson, Arkansas Online, 8 Sep. 2021 Here’s a description and a bit of summary from io9, which was on hand to check things out. Andy Meek, BGR, 7 Sep. 2021 Cavers in Vermont can explore Purgatory Pit. Misnomer or apt description?, 6 Sep. 2021 Since then, companies have been required to include a description of their human capital resources, including any human capital measures or objectives that companies focus on in managing the business. Bhakti Mirchandani, Forbes, 30 Aug. 2021 These kits include child description, photo ID, fingerprint ID, and DNA identification., 26 Aug. 2021 Erika's entire description of her divorce from Tom hinges on the idea that she's been lying to these women about Tom and her relationship with him for years. Jodi Walker,, 19 Aug. 2021 The other contains a description of the land—including marshy areas, a threshing floor and a nearby tower—in cuneiform script. Livia Gershon, Smithsonian Magazine, 5 Aug. 2021 Include a description of the work areas, with measurements. Kevin Brasler, Star Tribune, 31 July 2021

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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Last Updated

16 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Description.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Sep. 2021.

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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 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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