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

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 The hundreds of millions of people who fit that description typically work in construction, manufacturing and other low paying but vital activities. Laura He, CNN, "China is winning the global economic recovery," 10 Oct. 2020 The commercial continues as Jackman goes against Reynolds' glowing description of the actor, with scenes of him yelling at kids playing outside and telling a dog to go walk itself., "Hugh Jackman Enlists Frenemy Ryan Reynolds for His New Hilarious Coffee Commercial: WATCH," 16 Sep. 2020 Police arrested Alphonse because his distinctive tattoos and mustache fit the description of the suspect. Sophie Carson, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Man charged in shooting death of south side corn vendor also robbed a pizza delivery driver, prosecutors say," 9 Sep. 2020 Both Gonazlez and San Antonio Police Chief William McManus maintained that Ometu fit the description of the suspect. N'dea Yancey-bragg, USA TODAY, "Charges dropped against Black jogger mistakenly identified as a suspect in Texas," 2 Sep. 2020 Reamey said that if Ometu indeed did fit the suspect’s description, then officers would have had a reasonable suspicion to stop and detain him. Emilie Eaton,, "San Antonio mayor calls for release of body camera video as questions mount in arrest of Black jogger," 28 Aug. 2020 And a group of five or six people doesn’t fit the description of a large gathering. Paul Daugherty, The Enquirer, "Doc's Morning Line: Maybe the Cincinnati Reds need some voodoo to get the offense going," 26 Aug. 2020 Officers simultaneously found two suspects nearby who fit the description. Russ Bynum, Star Tribune, "Officer denies wrongdoing in violent takedown of wrong man," 19 Aug. 2020 Typically, that role falls into Avila's job description. Evan Petzold, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Tigers managerial search: These are candidates, traits Al Avila is looking at," 3 Oct. 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.

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

Time Traveler for description

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for description

Last Updated

21 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Description.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Oct. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

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

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).


Test Your Vocabulary

Here Be Dragons: A Creature Identification Quiz

  • monster werewolf photo
  • Which is a synonym of werewolf?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Syn City

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!