des·​ig·​nate | \ ˈde-zig-ˌnāt How to pronounce designate (audio) , -nət \

Definition of designate

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: chosen but not yet installed (see install sense 2a) ambassador designate


des·​ig·​nate | \ ˈde-zig-ˌnāt How to pronounce designate (audio) \
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

Other Words from designate


designative \ ˈde-​zig-​ˌnā-​tiv How to pronounce designate (audio) \ adjective
designator \ ˈde-​zig-​ˌnā-​tər How to pronounce designate (audio) \ noun
designatory \ ˈde-​zig-​nə-​ˌtȯr-​ē How to pronounce designate (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms for designate

Synonyms: Verb

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Examples of designate in a Sentence

Verb The wooden stakes designate the edge of the building site. the designated time for the meeting
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Others took aim at a law that allows council members to designate schools, libraries and other facilities as off-limits for camping. David Zahniser, Los Angeles Times, 7 June 2022 Many of my clients designate sheets or clothes for tanning. Jailynn Taylor, Essence, 3 June 2022 The development was on the agenda, but only for a vote to establish boundaries, prepare a redevelopment plan and designate land on Main Street as blighted. Drew Dawson, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 19 May 2022 Director of national intelligence nominee-designate Avril Haines also has a confirmation hearing scheduled for Friday and incoming veterans affairs secretary Denis McDonough for Jan. 27. Naomi Lim, Washington Examiner, 14 Jan. 2021 Use art or mirrors on the walls to designate zones. Kristin Tablang, House Beautiful, 9 May 2022 Cincinnati Public Schools Superintendent-designate Iranetta Wright is focused on four phases in her 100-day plan: engage, explore, evaluate and equip. Madeline Mitchell, The Enquirer, 27 Apr. 2022 President-elect Joe Biden has chosen Democratic California Attorney General Xavier Becerra as his nominee-designate to head his Health and Human Services Department, a crucial post amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Naomi Lim, Washington Examiner, 6 Dec. 2020 The lawmakers said there are times when Feinstein still appears sharp, like during last month's confirmation hearings for Supreme Court Justice-designate Ketanji Brown Jackson. Nicholas Reimann, Forbes, 14 Apr. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Teams designate players to open a spot on their 40-man roster and usually add a new player. Christopher Kuhagen, Journal Sentinel, 18 June 2022 To avoid this, companies should designate managers to facilitate LCNC development and help educate citizen developers about how the technology works, what tools the organization supports, and how to work with the larger IT organization. Vishwastam Shukla, Forbes, 15 June 2022 Federal legislation should designate all medical clinics and hospitals as gun-free zones. Brian Till, The New Republic, 6 June 2022 Also, Russia’s top prosecutor asked the country’s Supreme Court to designate Ukraine’s Azov Regiment — among the troops that made up the Azovstal garrison — as a terrorist organization. Oleksandr Stashevskyi And Ciaran Mcquillan, Chicago Tribune, 18 May 2022 Also, Russia’s top prosecutor asked the country’s Supreme Court to designate Ukraine’s Azov Regiment — among the troops that made up the Azovstal garrison — as a terrorist organization. Oleksandr Stashevskyi,, 18 May 2022 The news release did not designate a location for the venue, or indicate when it would be expected to open. Noel Oman, Arkansas Online, 5 May 2022 Sponsors must designate specific refugees to assist. Chris Cameron, New York Times, 25 Apr. 2022 One of the laws being challenged would designate Kentucky’s attorney general as the only statewide constitutional officer allowed to spend taxpayer funds on litigation challenging a bill’s constitutionality. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, 19 Apr. 2022 See More

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.

First Known Use of designate


1629, in the meaning defined above


1596, in the meaning defined at sense 2a

History and Etymology for designate

Adjective and Verb

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

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Time Traveler for designate

Time Traveler

The first known use of designate was in 1596

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Dictionary Entries Near designate



designate as

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Statistics for designate

Last Updated

16 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Designate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Jul. 2022.

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More Definitions for designate


des·​ig·​nate | \ ˈde-zig-ˌnāt How to pronounce designate (audio) \
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.

More from Merriam-Webster on designate

Nglish: Translation of designate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of designate for Arabic Speakers


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