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

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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

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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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Thomas Karako, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said that in theory the Patriot system could protect against such a threat, although it is primarily designed for ballistic missiles. Adam Taylor, Washington Post, "Billions spent on U.S. weapons didn’t protect Saudi Arabia’s most critical oil sites from a crippling attack," 17 Sep. 2019 It was designed and built by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University. Scientific American, "Drenchable Drones, Prickly Cells and Face-Tracked Chimps: Science GIFs to Start Your Week," 16 Sep. 2019 It was designed to prevent social democrats from infringing on the logic of capital in Europe. Ashley Smith, Harper's magazine, "Left of Europe," 16 Sep. 2019 In warmer climates, he (the jacket was designed for men’s bodies) could keep the outer shell but peel off the other layers. Rachel S. Gross, The Atlantic, "The Military Origins of Layering," 15 Sep. 2019 Named for the Greek god of darkness and shadows, it was originally designed for bombing coastal settlements. David James, Anchorage Daily News, "‘Monty Python’ alum takes on tale of doomed Franklin expedition in new book," 14 Sep. 2019 Like many other substations across the city owned by ComEd, it was designed by Chicago architect von Holst, a companion of Frank Lloyd Wright who eventually took up Wright’s architectural practice. Elaine Chen, chicagotribune.com, "Amid community pushback, ComEd gets permit to demolish historic Bronzeville substation," 14 Sep. 2019 They're only designed to make it through about three seasons tops (about 1,000 to 1,500 hours). Country Living, "Here's Exactly How to Fix Christmas Lights," 13 Sep. 2019 The laces slipped off the top hooks when our tester tied the boots looser than they were designed to be. Adrienne Donica, Popular Mechanics, "The Best Women's Hiking Boots for Any Outdoor Adventure," 13 Sep. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Sloppy around the edges Even a few hours in, Borderlands 3 has shown enough enemy variety to keep the shooting from getting stale, and beasts and humans alike show a great deal of personality in their animation and sound design. Kyle Orland, Ars Technica, "Borderlands 3 is a lot more Borderlands, in ways both good and bad," 17 Sep. 2019 What’s eye-popping here is the timescale: just 46 days from molecular design to animal testing in mice. Jonathan Vanian, Fortune, "Why These Two Innovations In Artificial Intelligence Are So Important: Eye on A.I.," 17 Sep. 2019 Daytime dresses, often made of velvet, were romantic and flowery with lots of ribbon and silk embroidery in designs that echoed Art Deco motifs. Julie Washington, cleveland.com, "Fashions of 1920s shimmer and shine in ‘Downton Abbey’ the movie," 17 Sep. 2019 The throws that Pittsburgh will ask him to make will be—or certainly SHOULD be—highly schemed designs with defined timing. Andy Benoit, SI.com, "Mason Rudolph Has the Tools, But Does He Have the Finesse?," 17 Sep. 2019 The duo will continue to explore their signature harnessing and stretch crepe designs that have garnered a strong, hard-bodied following. Vogue, "Charlotte Knowles’s Biting Take on Female Empowerment Will Close London Fashion Week," 16 Sep. 2019 The biennial, which bills itself as North America’s largest exhibition of architecture and design, represents the myriad gray areas associated with junkets. Blair Kamin, chicagotribune.com, "Column: Can you trust journalists on a junket? Chicago’s architecture biennial pays travel expenses of some who cover it.," 16 Sep. 2019 Marcus Dilliard’s lighting shifts from sunny sanguinity to hazy haunted house; Sean Healy’s sound design is understated but offers a couple of auditory jokes. Dominic P. Papatola, Twin Cities, "Theater review: ‘Ride the Cyclone’ is loopy, thoughtful, thoroughly enjoyable," 15 Sep. 2019 Other potential dangers Researchers and physicians also need to know what substances are being vaped and also various device designs. Risa Robinson, The Conversation, "How a person vapes, not just what a person vapes, could also play a big role in vaping harm," 13 Sep. 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.

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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

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Learn More about design

Statistics for design

Last Updated

8 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for design

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

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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

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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

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