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

Keep scrolling for more

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
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

That vehicle matched the description of the shooting suspect's vehicle, Smith said. Nathan J. Fish, azcentral, "Police: Suspect in Glendale shootings arrested after fleeing to Texas," 13 July 2018 Sometime later that night, a Greenfield police officer saw a car matching the description of Abuaziz’s, heading east on West Layton Avenue. Elliot Hughes, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Man led police on car chase after strangling wife in Franklin, complaint says," 11 July 2018 Police have not released a description of the suspect at this time. Indianapolis Star, "2 people hurt in south-side shooting," 9 July 2018 Police checked the area but were unable to locate anyone matching the description. Hank Beckman,, "La Grange blotter: Laptop stolen in armed robbery," 6 July 2018 Shortly after the car was reported stolen, an officer in the White Marsh precinct spotted a vehicle matching the description, according to police. Sarah Meehan,, "Suspect crashes stolen car into power transformer after police chase in Baltimore County, police say," 29 June 2018 Officer Rosfeld pulled over a Chevrolet Cruze the evening of June 19 that matched the description of a vehicle seen near an earlier drive-by shooting in North Braddock, in which a 22-year-old man was struck in the abdomen. Matthew Haag, New York Times, "Officer Who Shot Antwon Rose Is Charged With Criminal Homicide," 27 June 2018 On April 16, Orlando police pulled over a black Honda matching the description from the Leesburg incident. Martin E. Comas,, "Police arrest 2 men, teen in Fruitland Park deadly shooting," 21 June 2018 Lead facilitator Ken Naranja urged them to keep their discussions brief: a one-sentence description of the student, the issue, and a decision on who would follow up. San Francisco Chronicle, "A Retreat’s Risky Lessons," 14 June 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about description

Share description

Phrases Related to description

beggar description

beyond description

Statistics for description

Last Updated

10 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for description

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


to reject or criticize sharply

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Roman Mythology Quiz

  • the-triumph-of-venus-by-alessandro-magnasco
  • Boreal comes from the name of the ancient Greek god of which wind?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!