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 That's where a user can enter a list of IP addresses and designate which computers someone can use to withdraw funds from the account. Khristopher J. Brooks, CBS News, 26 Aug. 2022 So far, the nonprofit has helped save more than 73 million acres of wildlands and 3,580 miles of rivers, stop or remove 37 dams, designate five marine reserves, and establish 21 climbing areas. Amelia Arvesen, Outside Online, 17 Aug. 2022 In May Bloomberg reported that Nonkululeko Nyembezi had been appointed as Chairman-designate effective. Jasmine Browley, Essence, 11 Aug. 2022 Plakon has received a variety of endorsements, including Seminole County Sheriff Dennis Lemma, Florida House of Representatives speaker-designate Paul Renner and attorney general Ashley Moody. Abigail Hasebroock, Orlando Sentinel, 3 Aug. 2022 The family made headlines in 2019 after it was revealed that Mossimo and Loughlin paid college admissions scam ringleader Rick Singer $500,000 to falsely designate Olivia Jade and Bella as recruits to the University of Southern California crew team. Amanda Taylor,, 28 July 2022 Secretary of State-designate Tony Blinken was deputy secretary of state and deputy national security adviser during the Obama administration. Emily Larsen, Washington Examiner, 24 Nov. 2020 In the runup to the return, designate someone to provide information about what the company is doing to help promote employee well-being. Paul Mcdonald, Forbes, 13 Apr. 2022 Art or a gallery wall can help designate zones, says Chelsey Brown of City Chic Decor in New York. Mimi Montgomery, Washington Post, 13 July 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Israel sealed the offices of seven Palestinian nongovernmental organizations, including those working on human rights and child protection, months after a decision to designate them as terrorist groups sparked an international backlash. Dov Lieber And Aaron Boxerman, WSJ, 18 Aug. 2022 Wendelken was out of minor league options, necessitating the move to designate him for assignment. Theo Mackie, The Arizona Republic, 5 July 2022 Yet many states have been slow to designate it as an official holiday. Jamie Stengle And Cheyanne Mumphrey, Chicago Tribune, 19 June 2022 During the same period, the indictment alleges, Nathan Carman persuaded his mother to designate him as a beneficiary of her inheritance. Dennis Romero, NBC News, 10 May 2022 The city was set to receive a $5.6-million grant to purchase the land and designate it open space, until the Federal Emergency Management Agency pulled back the funding because homeowners had already been paid legal settlements. Hannah Frystaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 8 May 2022 In 1988, the northern fur seals’ population decline spurred the federal government to designate them as a depleted species. Anchorage Daily News, 10 Apr. 2022 In a 1920 ruling, however, the Supreme Court confirmed the Antiquities Act authorizes presidents to designate monuments of any size. Brian Maffly, The Salt Lake Tribune, 5 Sep. 2022 Ukrainian officials have pushed for Western countries to designate Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism for attacks that have killed scores of civilians throughout Ukraine. Matthew Luxmoore, WSJ, 3 Sep. 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

20 Sep 2022

Cite this Entry

“Designate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Sep. 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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