des·ig·nate | \ ˈde-zig-ˌnāt , -nət \

Definition of designate 

(Entry 1 of 2)

: chosen but not yet installed (see install sense 1b) ambassador designate


des·ig·nate | \ -ˌnāt \
designated; designating

Definition of designate (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to indicate and set apart for a specific purpose, office, or duty designate a group to prepare a plan

2a : to point out the location of a marker designating the battle

b : to distinguish as to class (see class entry 1 sense 3) the area we designate as that of spiritual values —J. B. Conant

c : specify, stipulate to be sent by a designated shipper

3 : denote associate names with the people they designate

4 : to call by a distinctive title, term, or expression a particle designated the neutron

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Other words from designate


designative \-ˌnā-tiv \ adjective
designator \-ˌnā-tər \ noun
designatory \-nə-ˌtȯr-ē \ adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms for designate

Synonyms: Verb

appoint, assign, attach, commission, constitute, detail, name, nominate, place

Antonyms: Verb

discharge, dismiss, expel, fire

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Examples of designate in a Sentence


The wooden stakes designate the edge of the building site. the designated time for the meeting

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Although rediscovered only in 2013 near the town of Pamukkale — famous for its surreal, Unesco-designate travertine hot spring terraces — the cave’s existence has been known since antiquity as part of what was then Hierapolis. Time, "Animals Dropped Dead Inside Roman 'Gate to Hell.' Scientists Just Figured Out Why," 22 Feb. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Of the $410 million, at least $331 million was designated by then-state Attorney General Kamala Harris for a fund devoted to programs assisting homeowners who were harmed by the wave of foreclosures. Bob Egelko,, "California ordered to restore $331 million to fund for homeowners," 12 July 2018 Three shelters in Texas have been designated for toddlers and infants. Martha Mendoza And Larry Fenn,, "Detaining immigrant kids is now a billion-dollar industry, analysis finds," 12 July 2018 Three shelters in Texas have been designated for toddlers and infants. Martha Mendoza And Larry Fenn, Detroit Free Press, "Detaining immigrant kids is now a billion-dollar industry, research shows," 12 July 2018 Both players had been designated for assignment recently. Tom Haudricourt, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Brewers activate Miley to face Pirates, summon Asher, Houser, send out Orf, Lopez, Peralta," 12 July 2018 To clear room, LHP Tim Collins was designated for assignment. Stephen Whyno,, "After being swept by Red Sox and falling below .500, Nationals hold players-only meeting," 4 July 2018 Though early celebrations began the following year, the Fourth of July wasn't designated a federal holiday until 1870. Caroline Simon, USA TODAY, "9 things you didn't know about the Fourth of July," 3 July 2018 Harford became a sponsor of an internal group of female employees called Women of Uber, and he was essentially designated to advocate for the group. Mike Isaac,, "At Uber, new questions arise about executive behavior," 14 July 2018 He will be used as a bench bat, taking the role of Dylan Cozens, who was optioned to triple A. Room for Plouffe on the 40-man roster was created when lefthander Hoby Milner was designated for assignment. Matt Breen,, "Phillies' Maikel Franco is finally finding success after lineup demotion," 10 July 2018

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


1629, in the meaning defined above


1596, in the meaning defined at sense 2a

History and Etymology for designate


Latin designatus, past participle of designare — see design entry 1


see designate entry 1

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Phrases Related to designate

designate as

Statistics for designate

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for designate

The first known use of designate was in 1596

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More Definitions for designate



English Language Learners Definition of designate

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: chosen for a particular job but not officially doing that job yet



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

: to officially choose (someone or something) to do or be something : to officially give (someone or something) a particular role or purpose

: to call (something or someone) by a particular name or title

: to be used as a name for (something or someone)


des·ig·nate | \ ˈde-zig-ˌnāt \
designated; designating

Kids Definition of designate

1 : to appoint or choose for a special purpose They designated a leader.

2 : to call by a name or title Let's designate this angle of the triangle a.

3 : to mark or point out : indicate These lines designate the boundaries.

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Comments on designate

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


an open space surrounded by woods

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