design

verb
de·​sign | \ di-ˈzīn How to pronounce design (audio) \
designed; designing; designs

Definition of design

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to create, fashion, execute, or construct according to plan : devise, contrive design a system for tracking inventory
2a : to conceive and plan out in the mind he designed the perfect crime
b : to have as a purpose : intend she designed to excel in her studies
c : to devise for a specific function or end a book designed primarily as a college textbook a suitcase designed to hold a laptop computer
3 archaic : to indicate with a distinctive mark, sign, or name
4a : to make a drawing, pattern, or sketch of … a curious woman whose dresses always looked as if they had been designed in a rage …— Oscar Wilde
b : to draw the plans for design a building designing a new bike

intransitive verb

1 : to conceive or execute a plan
2 : to draw, lay out, or prepare a design was trained to design for homes and offices

design

noun

Definition of design (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : a particular purpose or intention held in view by an individual or group He has ambitious designs for his son.
b : deliberate purposive planning more by accident than design
2 : a mental project or scheme in which means to an end are laid down was never part of my design
3a : a deliberate undercover project or scheme : plot a declaration of a design upon his life— John Locke
b designs plural : aggressive or evil intent used with on or against he has designs on the money
4 : a preliminary sketch or outline showing the main features of something to be executed the design for the new stadium
5a : an underlying scheme that governs functioning, developing, or unfolding : pattern, motif the general design of the epic
b : a plan or protocol for carrying out or accomplishing something (such as a scientific experiment) also : the process of preparing this
6 : the arrangement of elements or details in a product or work of art … his sense of structure, both in the general design of Paradise Lost and Samson, and in his syntax …— T. S. Eliot
7 : a decorative pattern a floral design
8 : the creative art of executing aesthetic or functional designs studied design in college

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from design

Verb

designedly \ di-​ˈzī-​nəd-​lē How to pronounce designedly (audio) \ adverb

Synonyms for design

Synonyms: Verb

aim, allow [chiefly Southern & Midland], aspire, calculate, contemplate, go [chiefly Southern & Midland], intend, look, mean, meditate, plan, propose, purport, purpose

Synonyms: Noun

arrangement, blueprint, game, game plan, ground plan, master plan, plan, program, project, road map, scheme, strategy, system

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Choose the Right Synonym for design

Noun

intention, intent, purpose, design, aim, end, object, objective, goal mean what one intends to accomplish or attain. intention implies little more than what one has in mind to do or bring about. announced his intention to marry intent suggests clearer formulation or greater deliberateness. the clear intent of the statute purpose suggests a more settled determination. being successful was her purpose in life design implies a more carefully calculated plan. the order of events came by accident, not design aim adds to these implications of effort directed toward attaining or accomplishing. her aim was to raise film to an art form end stresses the intended effect of action often in distinction or contrast to the action or means as such. willing to use any means to achieve his end object may equal end but more often applies to a more individually determined wish or need. his constant object was the achievement of pleasure objective implies something tangible and immediately attainable. their objective is to seize the oil fields goal suggests something attained only by prolonged effort and hardship. worked years to reach her goals

plan, design, plot, scheme, project mean a method devised for making or doing something or achieving an end. plan always implies mental formulation and sometimes graphic representation. plans for a house design often suggests a particular pattern and some degree of achieved order or harmony. a design for a new dress plot implies a laying out in clearly distinguished sections with attention to their relations and proportions. the plot of the play scheme stresses calculation of the end in view and may apply to a plan motivated by craftiness and self-interest. a scheme to defraud the government project often stresses imaginative scope and vision. a project to develop the waterfront

Examples of design in a Sentence

Verb

A team of engineers designed the new engine. Who designed the book's cover? He designed the chair to adjust automatically. They thought they could design the perfect crime. design a strategy for battle

Noun

There are problems with the design of the airplane's landing gear. I like the design of the textbook. I love the sculpture's design. The machine had a flawed design. the design and development of new products Correcting mistakes is part of the design process. a number of design concepts
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Beccaria began designing the dress in earnest right after the holidays. Alexandra Macon, Vogue, "Lady Gabriella Windsor Wears a Luisa Beccaria Dress with a Touch of Blush to Her Royal Wedding," 18 May 2019 First up is the Stimulating Scalp Scrub, designed to remove product build-up and detoxify the scalp. Leah Prinzivalli, Allure, "Frank Body's First-Ever Hair-Care Products Include a Scalp Scrub and Mask — and There’s Already a Waitlist," 17 May 2019 Fast-forward to the present, and TAXA has expanded to four products, all designed with a similar rugged ethos. Blake Z. Rong, Popular Mechanics, "RVs Are More Efficient Than Ever, Thanks to Eco-Friendly Manufacturing," 15 May 2019 This year the Duchess of Cambridge is co-designing a garden with landscape architects Andrée Davies and Adam White. Leena Kim, Town & Country, "5 Luxury Destinations for a Mother-Daughter Trip," 9 May 2019 Posting to the organization’s social media channels or website, moderating comments, updating profiles, editing or writing posts, etc. • Emailing newsletters, designing email templates, updating email lists, etc. Jamie Ballard, Woman's Day, "How to Become a Virtual Assistant So You Can Work From Home," 7 May 2019 The swimsuits Selena designed are part of a limited edition collection called ‘Selena x Krahs Swim. Jasmine Gomez, Seventeen, "Selena Gomez Drops a Sexy Swimwear Line That Helps Conceal Surgical Scars and Everything Is Under $50," 3 May 2019 Georgia The laws here seem designed to discourage people from using CBD, but that hasn’t stopped the public from seeking it out. Meredith Clark, Marie Claire, "Is CBD Even Legal Where You Live?," 12 Apr. 2019 From the debut of online Coachella merchandise lines from Ariana Grande and Beyoncé to the arrival of Adidas sneakers designed by Donald Glover, the fashion world was abuzz with plenty of new items and exciting moments. Teen Vogue, "Katherine McNamara, Gina Rodriguez and More of the Best Celeb Fashion This Week," 19 Apr. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The design is very important, but what’s inside is the most important. Elizabeth Denton, Allure, "Kendall Jenner Teams Up With Moon, an Oral Care Line Coming to Ulta," 24 Apr. 2019 The designs are beautiful, expensive, and—for me—fraught. Claire Gibson, Marie Claire, "Why My Relationship With Camo Print Is Messy," 29 Apr. 2019 Tenzi’s designs marry traditional African textiles with modern silhouettes and are—of course—made completely by hand. Shay Maunz, Glamour, "This Young Woman Is Fighting Poverty in Tanzania by Teaching Women to Make Clothes," 8 Mar. 2019 The drink is a riff on the Old Fashioned, inspired by Twenty Broad’s design which echoes the influence of the area's Beaux-Arts-style architectural tradition. Elle Decor Editors, ELLE Decor, "Designer Cocktail: Old Mr. Johnson," 23 Jan. 2019 That house is the Lauck House, and it’s recently been refreshed by a family of architects, who restored Breuer’s design to its original glory. Liz Stinson, Curbed, "Marcel Breuer’s 1950 Lauck House restored to its original glory," 21 Dec. 2018 On Wednesday, Women's Wear Daily announced the designer will launch a new label called The Marc Jacobs, which will debut with pre-fall 2019 designs. Marina Liao, Marie Claire, "Marc Jacobs Is Launching a New, Affordable Label Called "The Marc Jacobs"," 5 Dec. 2018 This guidance clearly didn’t affect Nvidia’s card designs. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "How I went from testing a fancy new graphics card to shouting at Windows 10," 24 Nov. 2018 Aspects of design can also become more challenging. Alyssa Hardy, Teen Vogue, "Interview: Designer Mara Hoffman on Sustainability in Fashion," 22 Mar. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'design.' 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 design

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 3

Noun

1565, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for design

Verb and Noun

Middle English, to outline, indicate, mean, from Anglo-French & Medieval Latin; Anglo-French designer to designate, from Medieval Latin designare, from Latin, to mark out, from de- + signare to mark — more at sign

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about design

Statistics for design

Last Updated

21 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for design

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for design

design

verb

English Language Learners Definition of design

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to plan and make decisions about (something that is being built or created) : to create the plans, drawings, etc., that show how (something) will be made
: to plan and make (something) for a specific use or purpose
: to think of (something, such as a plan) : to plan (something) in your mind

design

noun

English Language Learners Definition of design (Entry 2 of 2)

: the way something has been made : the way the parts of something (such as a building, machine, book, etc.) are formed and arranged for a particular use, effect, etc.
: the process of planning how something will look, happen, be made, etc. : the process of designing something
: a drawing of something that is being planned or created

design

verb
de·​sign | \ di-ˈzīn How to pronounce design (audio) \
designed; designing

Kids Definition of design

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to think up and plan out in the mind Our engineers have designed a new engine.
2 : to set apart for or have as a special purpose : intend The Web site is designed for fun.
3 : to make a pattern or sketch of She designs clothes.

design

noun

Kids Definition of design (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : an arrangement of parts in a structure or a work of art The design of the house suits a large family.
2 : the art or process of planning and creating something His job is Web page design.
3 : a sketch, model, or plan of something made or to be made Architects studied the design for the building.
4 : a decorative pattern
6 : a planned intention As if by design, they both stopped at the same spot …— Jerry Spinelli, Maniac Magee
7 : a secret purpose : plot I know you have designs on my money.

design

noun
de·​sign | \ di-ˈzīn How to pronounce design (audio) \

Medical Definition of design

: a plan or protocol for carrying out or accomplishing something (especially a scientific experiment) also : the process of preparing this

Other Words from design

design transitive verb

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on design

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with design

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for design

Spanish Central: Translation of design

Nglish: Translation of design for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of design for Arabic Speakers

Comments on design

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

WORD OF THE DAY

using a distributed computer network

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Time Traveler Quiz: Which Word Came First?

  • time traveler quiz which word came first
  • Which came first?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

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

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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