de·​scrip·​tor di-ˈskrip-tər How to pronounce descriptor (audio)
: something (such as a word or characteristic feature) that serves to describe or identify
especially : a word or phrase (such as an index term) used to identify an item (such as a subject or document) in an information retrieval system

Examples of descriptor in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Why everyone online is calling these Hollywood men 'babygirl' The term has risen in popularity as a descriptor not for little girls, but for male actors and male-presenting characters. Kalhan Rosenblatt, NBC News, 24 Oct. 2023 Fewer descriptors were provided of the man from the Aug. 27 incident. Teri Figueroa, San Diego Union-Tribune, 7 Sep. 2023 The book has garnered a wide range of genre descriptors — psychological thriller, horror, science fiction, to name a few — and the film aims to live in each one, sometimes simultaneously. Abbey White, The Hollywood Reporter, 2 Oct. 2023 The singular yet impactful descriptor Marcia Ann Gillespie (Essence Editor In Chief from 1971-1980) utilized to define ESSENCE’s boundless legacy hits it right on the nose. Cierra Black, Essence, 16 Sep. 2023 Musk’s many fans will surely take those descriptors as a given. Brian Merchant, Los Angeles Times, 11 Sep. 2023 Things started out so well with Fortran and Cobol—brief yet euphonious names rooted in descriptors of language’s purpose: formula translator, business language. Stephen Cass, IEEE Spectrum, 5 Sep. 2023 Those were just some of the descriptors attributed to Max Cleland, the late U.S. senator, Veterans Administration leader and Vietnam War veteran Friday to celebrate Cleland and the renami ... Unlock This Content. Katherine Landergan, ajc, 8 Sep. 2023 The model produced a spatial representation showing the similarity of the smell descriptors applied to different molecules. IEEE Spectrum, 4 Sep. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'descriptor.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


see describe

First Known Use

1946, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of descriptor was in 1946

Dictionary Entries Near descriptor

Cite this Entry

“Descriptor.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Dec. 2023.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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